Abstract

Turbulent heated and buoyant plumes have important applications in the atmosphere such as wildland fire plumes, volcanic plumes, and chemical plumes. The purpose of the study is to analyze the turbulence structures, and to understand the stages of the development of the starting turbulent plumes. For this purpose, data generated from an in-house Weather Research Forecast model coupled with Large-eddy simulation (WRF-bLES) with two-way feedback between the buoyant plume and the atmosphere developed has been used. The release of both dense gases (Co2, So2) and, buoyant gases (He, NH3, heated air) from a circular source at the bottom of the domain have been investigated. The simulations of the axisymmetric plume were performed at a high Reynolds number of 108. Vortex Identification methods were used to extract the Coherent structures and the large-scale features of the flow. The results have demonstrated that both the dense and the buoyant heated plumes with different initial characters exhibited universal characteristics and the development of the starting plumes occurred in four characteristic stages: Stage 1 is the plume acceleration stage, followed by stage 2 which corresponds to the formation of the head of the plume which grows spatially. Stage 3 is when the plume head is fully formed and the flow transitions to quasi-steady-state behavior. The final stage is the fully developed plume.

The identification of the four-stage development of the plume in the neutral environment is the first step in studying the turbulent heated and buoyant plumes development in order to characterize realistic plumes and to quantify the extent of mixing at each of these stages. This work has important contributions to fundamental fluid dynamics of buoyant plumes with implications on forecasting the plume trajectory of smoke, wildland fire, and volcanic plumes.

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