“Effects of Acceleration Reversal and Material Strength on Rayleigh-Taylor Turbulence”

Arindam Banerjee, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, Lehigh University

Experimental turbulence research over the last 60+ years has concentrated on passive-scalar mixing encompassing several canonical flows such as jets, free shear-layers, grid turbulence and boundary layers. Far less attention has been given to the acceleration-driven Rayleigh Taylor (RT) and shock-driven Richtmyer-Meshkov (RM) instabilities, likely due to difficulties associated with the development of experimental facilities and the application of high-fidelity diagnostics to such experiments. We will discuss the need to understand the physics associated with turbulent mixing driven Rayleigh Taylor (RT) instability which occurs at the interface between a light fluid and a heavy fluid due to gravitational impact and is observed in several natural and anthropogenic flows. The key scientific challenge to be addressed in the next decade relates to extending our understanding of material mixing to high energy environments as occurs in inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Of importance is to explore Rayleigh Taylor (RT) instabilities in fluid flow and its ability to mix materials often (but not always) by turbulence. The current talk will review various RT experimental facilities and highlight a new experimental facility which is being developed at Lehigh University. We will discuss our findings on two interesting aspects of acceleration-driven instabilities: (a) RTI under multiple acceleration reversal; and, (b) Viscous RTI using Elastic Plastic Materials. Results from experiments and numerical simulations will be discussed.

Dr. Banerjee received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2006 and worked briefly at Los Alamos as a post-doctoral fellow before moving over to academia. He has over 15 years of experience in experimental fluid dynamics. His current research interest includes fluid mixing in various extreme environments, wind and hydrokinetic energy harvesting and pulmonary drug delivery. His research work is funded through National Science Foundation (Early CAREER Award), Department of Energy (NNSA) and Office of Naval Research. He has over 50 peer reviewed publications and has won several research and teaching awards.

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