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Density current under surface waves

Density current under surface waves

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Published by Chiu-On Ng
"On the propagation of a two-dimensional viscous density current under surface waves" Ng & Fu, Phys. Fluids (2002), 14(3), 970-984.
"On the propagation of a two-dimensional viscous density current under surface waves" Ng & Fu, Phys. Fluids (2002), 14(3), 970-984.

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Published by: Chiu-On Ng on Dec 27, 2008
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07/07/2010

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Onthepropagationofatwo-dimensionalviscousdensitycurrentundersurfacewaves
Chiu-On Ng
a)
and Sau-Chung Fu
 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Received 24 July 2001; accepted 6 December 2001
This study aims to develop an asymptotic theory for the slow spreading of a thin layer of viscousimmiscible dense liquid on the bottom of a waterway under the combined effects of surface wavesand density current. By virtue of the sharply different length and time scales
wave periodicexcitation being effective at fast scales, while gravity and streaming currents at slow scales
, amultiple-scale perturbation analysis is conducted. Evolution equations are deduced for the local andglobal profile distributions of the dense liquid layer as functions of the slow-time variables. Whenreflected waves are present, the balance between gravity and streaming will result, on a time scaleone order of magnitude longer than the wave period, in an undulating water/liquid interface whosedisplacement amplitude is much smaller than the thickness of the dense liquid layer. On the globalscale, the streaming current can predominate and drive the dense liquid to propagate with a distinctpattern in the direction of the surface waves. ©
2002 American Institute of Physics.
DOI: 10.1063/1.1448348
I.INTRODUCTION
Accidental spills of oil or hazardous liquid hydrocarbonsin near-shore regions are now common occurrences and of-ten lead to long-term and extensive damage to the environ-ment. Dense oils or nonaqueous phase liquids
DNAPL
thatsink in water, when spilled into a body of water, will even-tually reach the bottom of the water column, where they maycause further pollution by interacting with the benthic envi-ronment. Even a floating oil, when mixed with 2%–3% of sand, can make itself heavier than water and sink. The po-tential threat to the environment posed by a hazardous liquidchemical on the bottom very often is as enormous as, if notmore than, that caused by a floating oil on the water surface,which is more visible to the public.Chemicals spilled on the sea can be dissipated by naturalcauses such as physical mixing, chemical weathering, andbiological degradation. Such causes, however, become lesseffective for liquid chemicals deposited on the sea bottom.Unlike those floating on the surface, they are less subjectedto dissipation due to volatilization and photo-degradation.The adverse environment on the bottom also limits the aero-bic biodegradation. Turbulent mixing is suppressed if strati-fication is stable. It is in general difficult to monitor thespreading of a liquid phase chemical on the sea bottom. Amodel very often is the only readily available tool by whichone can estimate the extent of pollutant migration in thebenthic environment.Gravity or density current is the mechanism by which aviscous fluid spreads under a lighter fluid; it also refers to theflow along a boundary layer of one fluid intruding into an-other fluid as driven by gravitational or buoyancy force.
1
Huppert and Simpson
2
reasoned that a gravity current mightevolve to go through three stages. The first one is the slump-ing phase, during which the current is retarded by the coun-terflow in the fluid into which it is discharging. The next twostages are, respectively, the balance between buoyancy forceand inertia force, and the balance between buoyancy forceand viscous force. For spreading after a sufficiently longtime, the third stage is expected to dominate. This flow re-gime was studied experimentally by Didden and Maxworthy
3
and similarity solutions for two-dimensional and axisymmet-ric viscous gravity currents were obtained by Huppert.
4
Morerecent studies on gravity current include Ungarish andHuppert
5
and Hogg
et al.
6
However, in typical coastal situa-tions, the migration of a dense liquid in the bottom boundarylayer can be forced by gravity current as well as Eulerianstreaming current induced by surface waves. In those above-mentioned works the effects of surface waves are grosslyignored.For small-amplitude periodic surface water waves, thefluid particles near the bottom possess, apart from their or-bital motion, a steady second-order drift velocity, which isusually termed the mass transport velocity or streaming. Thetheory of streaming by surface waves was studied in detailby Longuet-Higgins.
7
Carter
et al.
8
studied the mass trans-port in a homogeneous fluid under incident and reflectedwaves. Dalrymple and Liu
9
developed a general theory forlinear waves propagating in a two-layer system, with theeffects of all the boundary layers taken into account. Extend-ing this work to the second order, Sakakiyama and Bijker
10
obtained the mass transport velocity in a viscous mud layerdue to progressive waves. More recently, Ng
11
deduced ana-lytical solutions for an asymptotic case of Dalrymple andLiu,
9
namely when the lower layer of fluid is comparable inthickness with the Stokes boundary layer. Ng
11
presented ex-plicit expressions for the wave attenuation, mass transport
a
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Telephone:
852
2859 2622; fax:
852
2858 5415; electronic mail: cong@hku.hk PHYSICS OF FLUIDS VOLUME 14, NUMBER 3 MARCH 2002
9701070-6631/2002/14(3)/970/15/$19.00 © 2002 American Institute of Physics
Downloaded 24 Feb 2002 to 147.8.93.75. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright, see http://ojps.aip.org/phf/phfcr.jsp
 
velocity, and mean discharge rate of mud. For the spreadingof a dense and immiscible fluid on the sea bottom, the in-duced wave streaming can be as influential as the gravitycurrent, if the fluid layer profile is slowly varying. It is of fundamental interest to find out how the two driving forceswill interact or counteract with each other in controlling thetransport of matter in a wave boundary layer. It is the inten-tion of this paper to study the spreading of a submerged fluidunder a balance between the viscous, gravity and oscillatoryeffects.The aim of this study is to develop an asymptotic theoryfor the spreading of a thin slowly varying layer of denseliquid on the bottom of a nearshore waterway under the ac-tion of small-amplitude surface gravity waves. In Sec. II theproblem is further defined and the assumptions are stated.The relative orders of magnitude of individual effects areestimated in terms of the small parameter of wave steepness,which is the ratio of wave amplitude to wavelength. Multiplespatial and time scales exist in the problem, thereby requir-ing the multiple-scale expansions of the governing equationsand boundary conditions. An asymptotic analysis is per-formed in Sec. III to obtain perturbation equations to thesecond order. The flow structure at the leading order can bemodeled by that of a two-layer Stokes boundary layer.
11
Thesecond-order steady current, composed of Eulerian streamingand density current, is then found analytically. The problemis closed when the evolution equations, on the local and theglobal scales, are determined from the depth-integrated con-tinuity equation. Owing to reflected waves, the streamingcurrent varies periodically in half a wavelength, leading tothe development of an undulating interface between waterand the dense liquid on the local scale, whose analytical formis presented in Sec. IV. It is shown that an undulation isdeveloped such that its crest is typically under a node of thesurface waves, and its amplitude is larger for a smaller den-sity contrast or a thinner layer of the dense liquid. The localstreaming current structures are examined in detail in termsof the reflection coefficient and the development stage of theundulating interface. The spreading of the dense liquid alsotakes place slowly on a global length scale. In Sec. V theglobal evolution equation, which encompasses both stream-ing and density currents, is solved numerically for thespreading pattern as a function of time for a given initialprofile. The pattern can be rather distinct and the entire fluidlayer can migrate significantly in the direction of wavepropagation after a sufficiently long time. Results are exam-ined for various values of the fluid properties and wave char-acteristics.
II.ASSUMPTIONSANDFORMULATION
Consider a two-dimensional thin layer of dense viscousand immiscible nonaqueous liquid
simply referred to as thedense liquid hereafter
lying on the bottom of a water course,as shown in Fig. 1. Axes
x
and
y
are, respectively, in thedirection of the incident wave and vertically upward from themean water free surface. The densities of the dense liquidand water are, respectively, denoted by
 
m
and
 
w
, where
 
m
 
w
. The flow of water near the bottom boundary isessentially turbulent, but the dense liquid is so glutinous thatits viscous motion is still largely controlled by molecularviscosity. It is assumed that stable density stratification pre-vails, and therefore mixing across the water/liquid interfaceis suppressed. Such an assumption has been commonlyadopted in studies of concentrated mud under surface waves
e.g., Mei and Liu
12
. The eddy viscosity of water in theboundary layer, denoted by
 
w
, is for simplicity taken to bea constant, which in coastal zones may have typical values1–100 cm
2
s
1
. The molecular viscosity coefficient of thedense liquid, denoted by
 
m
, also can be as much as thesevalues if the liquid is sufficiently viscous.The dense liquid layer is of a thickness
h
m
(
 x
,
), whilethe depth of the overlying water layer is
h
w
(
 x
,
); both varyslowly with the longitudinal coordinate
x
and time
. Thetotal depth
h
0
h
w
h
m
is assumed to be constant, and
h
m
h
w
. The shallowness of the dense liquid layer allows theapplication of the lubrication theory here.The present theory applies to the case when a suffi-ciently long time has elapsed after the initial discharge of thedense liquid. In other words, it has come to a stage in whichthe steady fluid motion in the boundary layer that is inducedby surface waves is comparable in magnitude with thatdriven by buoyancy. Therefore, as long as the surface wavesare small in amplitude, the inertia of the fluid will be negli-gible at the leading order, but gives rise to a steady streamingat the next order. The steady streaming, which owes its ex-istence to viscosity, is then balanced by gravity current. Sucha buoyancy-viscous balance can also be argued in a morerigorous manner using the relations presented by Huppert.
4
Now, a long-crested small-amplitude incident wave isprogressing on the water free surface in the positive
x
direc-tion. A reflective boundary may exist farther down the watercourse so that a standing wave can be formed from the su-perposition of incident and reflected waves of the same pe-riod. The free-surface displacement can be written as
 
 x
,
Re
a
e
i
kx
 
Re
i
kx
 
,
1
where Re denotes the real part of the expression following,
a
is the amplitude of the incident waves,
i
is the imaginaryunit,
is the wave number,
 
is the wave angular frequency,
FIG. 1. Schematic diagram of the problem under consideration; a thin lensof viscous dense liquid spreading on the bottom of a waterway under surfacewaves.
971Phys. Fluids, Vol. 14, No. 3, March 2002 Viscous density current under surface waves
Downloaded 24 Feb 2002 to 147.8.93.75. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright, see http://ojps.aip.org/phf/phfcr.jsp
 
and
R
is the reflection coefficient. Without loss of generality,we may take
a
and
 
to be real. Our focus will only be on thecases in which the coefficient
R
is real and in the range 0
 R
1. The wave is purely progressive when
R
0, andbecomes purely standing when
R
1; a partial standingwave results from an intermediate value of 
R
.The wave steepness
 
ka
1 is a small quantity, andwill be used as the ordering parameter. The motion of wateris essentially inviscid and irrotational except in a thin layernear the bottom in which vorticity is appreciable. Under aperiodic forcing given by Eq.
1
, the thin boundary layer isa Stokes boundary layer, whose thickness is typically definedas
e.g., Mei
13
 
2
 
 / 
 
1/2
.
2
Momentum exchange renders the Stokes boundary layer toextend across the interface between the near-bottom waterand the dense liquid. Since
 
m
 
w
, the thickness of theStokes boundary layer in either fluid is comparable with eachother. In this study, we assume that the dense liquid layerthickness
h
m
and the Stokes boundary layer thickness
 
areof the same order of magnitude as the wave amplitude
a
.They are supposed to be in the order of tens of centimeters,much shorter than the wavelength. Therefore, there is a sharpcontrast in the horizontal and vertical length scales:
 
ka
kh
m
 
1.
3
Also, the entire dense liquid layer, as well as the near-bottomwater, is subject to viscous shear. Flows in this two-layerStokes boundary layer are describable by the classicalboundary layer theory. For convenience, we introduce a localvertical coordinate
n
 y
h
0
, which points upward from thebase of the dense liquid layer
Fig. 1
. Note that
n
, which hasthe same scale as
h
m
, is an inner independent variable forthe boundary layer solutions. In the equations and boundaryconditions presented below, the small parameter
 
is insertedmerely to reflect the relative order of magnitude of the asso-ciated term, and also that of the truncation error. Otherwise,the
 
’s may be disregarded. The parameter
 
appears only inequations or boundary conditions which contain terms of dif-ferent orders. Such orders of the terms are obtainable uponnondimensionalizing the equations and boundary conditionsusing the normalized variables, which are introduced inTable I. The parameter
 
is then retained for identificationwhen reverting to the physical variables, thereby yielding thepresent equations and boundary conditions. See Fu
14
for fur-ther details.The continuity and momentum equations read as fol-lows, where the subscript
is replaced by
m
and
w
when theequations are applied to the dense liquid and the near-bottomwater, respectively:
 
u
 f 
 
 x
 
v
 f 
 
n
0,
4
 
u
 f 
 
 
u
 f 
 
u
 f 
 
 x
 
v
 f 
 
u
 f 
 
n
1
 
 f 
 
P
 f 
 
 x
 
 f 
 
2
u
 f 
 
n
2
 
 f 
 
w
 
 f 
g
 
h
m
 
 x
O
 
2
,
5
and0
1
 
 f 
 
P
 f 
 
n
O
 
2
,
6
where
u
(
 x
,
n
,
) and
v
(
 x
,
n
,
) are the horizontal and verticalcomponents of the fluid velocity, and
P
(
 x
,
n
,
) is the dy-namic pressure
i.e., the static pressure being subtracted fromthe total pressure
. One may notice that in the horizontalmomentum equation
5
, the convective inertia are of an or-der
O
(
 
) relative to the local acceleration, and the denseliquid is subject to buoyancy force.At the base of the dense liquid
n
0, the no-slip andno-leakage conditions apply:
u
m
v
m
0 at
n
0.
7
Excited by the surface waves, the interface between thedense liquid and water displaces periodically in the samemanner as the surface waves. The interface is given by
(
 x
,
n
,
)
n
h
m
 
 
0, where
TABLE I. Orders of magnitude and normalized forms
distinguished by a caret
of the variables.Physical variable Order of magnitude Normalized variable
 x
,
x
1
1
(
 xˆ 
,
 xˆ 
1
)
kx x
2
(
 
)
1
 xˆ 
2
(
2
a
2
 / 
 
m
)
 xn
,
h
m
,
h
m
0
 
1
a
 
m
(
nˆ 
,
hˆ 
m
,
hˆ 
m
0
)
(
n
,
h
m
,
h
m
0
)/ 
 
m
h
m
1
 
ahˆ 
m
1
h
m
1
/(
ka
2
)
 
,
b
 
a
(
 
ˆ 
,
bˆ 
)
(
 
,
b
)/(
 
1
 
m
˜ 
 I 
)
,
1
 
1
(
ˆ 
,
ˆ 
1
)
 
2
(
 
 
)
1
ˆ 
2
(
 
 
m
)
4
(
 
3
 
)
1
ˆ 
4
(
3
 
a
4
 / 
 
m
)
 
w
 
m
 
 
w
 
m
 
w
 
m
 
 
m
 
w
u
,
u
0
 
a
˜ 
 I 
(
uˆ 
,
uˆ 
0
)
(
u
,
u
0
)/ 
˜ 
 I 
v
,
v
0
 
 
a
 
˜ 
 I 
(
v
ˆ 
,
v
ˆ 
0
)
(
v
,
v
0
)/(
 
m
˜ 
 I 
)
u
1
,
u
 L
 
 
a
 
˜ 
 I 
(
uˆ 
1
,
uˆ 
 L
)
(
u
1
,
u
 L
)/(
 
1
˜ 
 I 
2
)
v
1
,
v
 L
 
2
 
a
 
2
˜ 
 I 
(
v
ˆ 
1
,
v
ˆ 
 L
)
(
v
1
,
v
 L
)/(
2
 
1
 
m
˜ 
 I 
2
)
P
 / 
 
1
 
2
a
gaPˆ 
P
 /(
 
1
 
˜ 
 I 
)
972 Phys. Fluids, Vol. 14, No. 3, March 2002 C.-O. Ng and S.-C. Fu
Downloaded 24 Feb 2002 to 147.8.93.75. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright, see http://ojps.aip.org/phf/phfcr.jsp

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