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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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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

,

t

), whilethe depth of the overlying water layer is

h

w

(

x

,

t

); both varyslowly with the longitudinal coordinate

x

and time

t

. 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

,

t

Re

a

e

i

kx

t

Re

i

kx

t

,

1

where Re denotes the real part of the expression following,

a

is the amplitude of the incident waves,

i

is the imaginaryunit,

k

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

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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

k

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

f

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

t

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

,

t

) and

v

(

x

,

n

,

t

) are the horizontal and verticalcomponents of the ﬂuid velocity, and

P

(

x

,

n

,

t

) 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

F

(

x

,

n

,

t

)

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

k

1

(

xˆ

,

xˆ

1

)

kx x

2

(

k

)

1

xˆ

2

(

k

2

a

2

/

m

)

xn

,

h

m

,

h

m

0

k

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

)/(

k

1

m

U

˜

I

)

t

,

t

1

1

(

t ˆ

,

t ˆ

1

)

t t

2

(

)

1

t ˆ

2

(

k

m

)

t t

4

(

3

)

1

t ˆ

4

(

k

3

a

4

/

m

)

t

w

m

w

/

m

w

m

m

/

w

u

,

u

0

a

U

˜

I

(

uˆ

,

uˆ

0

)

(

u

,

u

0

)/

U

˜

I

v

,

v

0

a

U

˜

I

(

v

ˆ

,

v

ˆ

0

)

(

v

,

v

0

)/(

k

m

U

˜

I

)

u

1

,

u

L

a

U

˜

I

(

uˆ

1

,

uˆ

L

)

(

u

1

,

u

L

)/(

k

1

U

˜

I

2

)

v

1

,

v

L

2

a

2

U

˜

I

(

v

ˆ

1

,

v

ˆ

L

)

(

v

1

,

v

L

)/(

k

2

1

m

U

˜

I

2

)

P

/

k

1

2

a

gaPˆ

P

/(

k

1

U

˜

I

)

972 Phys. Fluids, Vol. 14, No. 3, March 2002 C.-O. Ng and S.-C. Fu

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