Stratified Turbulent Wakes
Stratified wake research has classically focused on naval applications or large-scale geophysical flows (flow over and past mountains, islands, headlands and sea mounts) in both the atmospheric and oceanographic settings. More recently interest in stratified wakes has resurged due to worldwide interested in wind energy production due to the dynamics of wind-turbine wakes in the nocturnal atmospheric boundary layer. Common to all of these settings is the large initial Reynolds number, Re, a measure of the strength of the near-body turbulence with respect to the damping effects of viscosity, based on the diameter of the generating body (or topographic feature).
The investigation of the complex phenomena inherent in stratified wakes and the establishment of sufficient understanding of the underlying physics is challenging from a theoretical, experimental, and computational standpoint.
Peter J. Diamessis, Civil and Environmental Engineering, has established critical insight into the impact of the phenomena of stably stratified turbulence (SST) and internal wave radiation in the life-cycle of the stratified wake. Diamessis has identified scaling laws, of high predictive utility, for the evolution of the fundamental turbulent non-dimensional parameters in the SST regime. Capitalizing on a re-structured, modernized, state-of-the-art, high-accuracy element-based flow solver, Diamessis is now studying a value of Re never before accessed in a simulation or the laboratory, obtaining an enhanced physical understanding of SST and internal wave radiation. Using machine learning, in one of its first applications to actual 3-D wave fields, he is building an automatic tracking/identification tool. The findings of this research provide insights critical to the Navy and fundamental environmental fluid mechanics.