Experimental investigation of the grid-generated turbulence features

in a free surface flow
Fre´de´ric Murzyn
a,
*
, Michel Be´lorgey
b
a
School of Civil Engineering and The Environment, Faraday building, Highfield, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ Southampton, UK
b
Morphodynamique Continentale et Coˆ tie` re, UMR 6143, CNRS, Groupe Me´ canique des Fluides, 24 rue des tilleuls, 14000 Caen, France
Received 13 September 2004; received in revised form 2 December 2004; accepted 17 December 2004
Abstract
The present study aims to investigate the features of a grid-generated turbulence occurring in a current flow with a free surface
flow. The interest is focused on the length and time scales of the turbulence. These are the macro, the micro and the Kolmogorov
scales. To analyze the flow, a 2D LDV system has been used to measure U, W , u
0
and w
0
. This non-intrusive and optical technique is
really accurate (in terms of space and time resolution). Furthermore, it does not disturb the flow and provides a high data rate. Both
horizontal and vertical velocities are recorded at the same time according to a coincidence window (s
cw
). Bias measurements are
avoided by using a filtering technique during data processing. The improved homogeneity and isotropy of the turbulence down-
stream of the grid allows the use of the Taylor hypothesis. Thus, all length and time scales of the flow can be estimated. Results
are discussed as well as the influence of the upcoming mean velocity ðUÞ on the turbulence properties.
Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: LDV; Grid-generated turbulence; Isotropy; Turbulence length/time scales; Current; Taylor hypothesis
1. Introduction
In terms of coastal engineering, all studies are inter-
esting because they can bring solutions to different envi-
ronmental problems such as pollutant dispersion, air/
sea exchanges, beach planning and so on. Lots of prob-
lems particularly occur closed to the coasts. Building a
breakwater with respect to the shoreline properties
[29] or a bridge between a continent and an island,
designing an artificial reef for surfers and suitable for
fishes [17], devising a pipeline for gas transportation,
understanding the problem of pollutant dispersion in
an estuary (to avoid its contamination by chemical
materials) are examples of research topics where coastal
engineers have strong interests. Before surfing the waves
over this artificial reef or protecting a bay against wave
action and storms, researchers have to define the best
shape of these structures taking into account the in-situ
conditions (water depth, wave height/period, current
speed. . .), their behavior in extreme conditions (storms,
risks of damages). . . Laboratory experiments, numerical
modelling and/or in situ measurements are three differ-
ent ways to proceed to get as many information as pos-
sible (efficiency of the structure, costs, key parameters
influencing the flow around these structures. . .). Among
that, sediment transport is one of the most important
points they have to take care as it is responsible for ero-
sion or accretion. For instance, scour erosion around a
cylinder can lead to the destabilization of the supports,
then to instabilities of the pipe leading to its destruc-
tion. As a consequence, the spreading of the gas or
0894-1777/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2005.02.002
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 23 8059 4656; fax: +44 23 8067
7519.
E-mail addresses: fpjf@soton.ac.uk (F. Murzyn), belorgey@meca.
unicaen.fr (M. Be´lorgey).
www.elsevier.com/locate/etfs
Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935
the petrol into the oceans then means pollution of the
environment.
The turbulence plays an important role in these sedi-
ment transport problems [4,23,24]. Everywhere in the
flow (near the bottom, inside the water column or at
the air/water interface), it has a strong influence. In
the lower part of the flow, burst and sweep phenomena
are responsible for highly turbulent events and particle
entrainment [15]. Above this area, turbulent structures
affect particle path and modify their settling velocity
[7,13]. In terms of environmental consequences, this
has a real impact as it has been explained by Jing and
Ridd [18] for the particular case of the Cleveland bay
in Australia for coral reefs.
In the last two decades, many studies have been
undertaken to understand the interaction between tur-
bulence and sediment transport [10,12,23–25]. Results
mainly show that the length and time scales of the turbu-
lence are one of the most important parameters [4].
In the present paper, we aim to investigate this point
by describing the behavior of these characteristics scales.
Experiments have been carried out in a flume (current
flow), downstream of a square mesh grid. This grid-gen-
erated turbulence is homogeneous and isotropic which
makes the study easier. Indeed, the turbulence proper-
ties may be estimated by using Taylor hypothesis. On
the one hand, the role of the current velocity is analyzed.
On the other hand, these results bring information on
how turbulence develops behind an obstacle in rivers
flows.
2. Experimental set-up, data acquisition and analysis
2.1. Experimental set up
The experiments were conducted in the wave/current
flume of the ‘‘Morphodynamique Continentale et
Coˆ tie`re’’ laboratory at the University of Caen/Basse
Normandie. It is 16.5 m in length, 0.5 m in width and
0.7 m in height (L
c
= 16.5 m, l
c
= 0.5 m and
h
c
= 0.7 m). Side walls are made of glass. Thus, optical
measurement systems such as LDV can be used for flow
visualizations and velocity measurements. The bottom
Nomenclature
d water depth
d
b
bar width of the grid
h
c
channel height
I
x,z
longitudinal and vertical turbulence intensi-
ties
L
c
channel length
l
c
channel width
L
f
macro length scale of turbulence
M grid mesh size
t time
T duration of acquisition
TT transit time
T
t
macro time scale of turbulence
Re
M
, Re
k
g
Reynolds numbers
~x, ~y, ~z spatial directions
U, W instantaneous horizontal and vertical veloci-
ties
U (or U
mean
), W (or W
mean
) mean horizontal and ver-
tical velocities
U
max
maximum horizontal velocity
U
max,p
maximum horizontal velocity (vertical pro-
file)
u
0
, w
0
horizontal and vertical turbulent fluctuations
of the velocities
Symbols
e dissipation rate
j turbulent kinetic energy
g
K
, s
K
, v
K
Kolmogorov scales
k
f
micro length scale of turbulence
r Solidity coefficient
s
t
micro time scale of turbulence
s
cw
coincidence window
t kinematic viscosity
Acronym
LDV Laser Doppler Velocimetry
Fig. 1. The wave/current flume at the University of Caen/Basse
Normandie.
926 F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935
of the channel is made of PVC. Fig. 1 shows this appa-
ratus. Underneath the channel, a PVC ‘‘high-pressure’’
tube (0.315 m of diameter) ensures the recirculation of
the water (constant volume).
The current is generated by a pump. The flow rate is
accurately defined by controlling the rotation frequency
of the pump. Experiments can then be made at different
times in the same conditions. The mean horizontal
velocity ðUÞ can be up to 2 m/s depending on water
depth (d). For the present study, the flow depth (d) is
constant and equal to 0.35 m (d = 0.35 m).
Turbulence can be generated by different means. For
instance, a cylinder may be installed across the flow or
the bottom roughness can be increased. Here, the turbu-
lence is generated by a square mesh grid placed in a
cross section of the flow. According to Comte-Bellot
and Corrsin [9], the mesh size (M) and the grid bar
thickness (d
b
) are chosen to get a solidity coefficient
(1) of 0.33. Fig. 2 shows the grid. This grid is made of
15 meshes in width and 18 in height. The rigidity of
the grid is ensured by a frame made of duralumin.
r ¼
d
b
M
2 À
d
b
M
_ _
¼ 0:33 ð1Þ
In our experimental set up (recirculating channel),
a honeycomb (0.2 m in thickness, square cells of
0.004 m · 0.004 m) is located upstream of the grid to re-
duce the level of the turbulence intensity before the grid
(less than 4%). It breaks the possible vortex generated at
the entrance of the flume [21].
A calibration of the flume has been made before these
experiments to investigate the flow properties with and
without the grid. In both case, closed to the side walls
and above the bottom, the boundary layer thickness
has been estimated to less than 0.08 m. Further details
on this calibration are presented by Murzyn [21]. From
that, the best emplacement for the grid has been defined
2.3 m downstream of the honeycomb.
Based on U and M, the Reynolds number character-
izing the flow is (2):
Re
M
¼
UM
t
ð2Þ
Three different mean horizontal velocities have been
studied (U ¼ 0:225 m/s, 0.25 m/s and 0.325 m/s) corre-
sponding to Re
M
of 7425, 8250 and 10,725.
~x is to the main flow direction (x = 0 at the grid posi-
tion) and~z is the vertical direction (z = 0 on the bottom).
U and W are respectively the horizontal and the vertical
velocity components. U is positive in the flow direction
and W is positive upward.
2.2. Data acquisition
Data are acquired through the BSAFlow software of
DANTEC. Several parameters are recorded such as the
transit time (TT), the arrival time (AT) and the instanta-
neous velocities (U and W).
For turbulent flows, data acquisition must be made
very carefully. The data collection duration (T) and
the number of acquired samples (N) are important. To
avoid any bias on velocity measurements, acquisition
must be done according to two criteria:
1. T must be long enough compared to the time scales of
the flow (this point will be discussed farther);
2. N must be large enough to escape any problems dur-
ing data processing. According to Belmabrouck [2]
and Belmabrouck and Michard [3], N = 2000 seems
to be a minimum.
Data rate must be high enough as well in order to
follow the fluctuations of the flow. Particle seeding
may improve it. Finally, we decided to choose T = 50 s
and N = 5000 (when one of these conditions is reached,
data collection stops). The data rate was always higher
than 50 Hz.
U and W are simultaneously recorded with respect to
a coincidence window (s
cw
). s
cw
depends on the mean
TT of a particle (moving at U) across the volume of
measurement. It can reach 10 times this mean TT [14].
s
cw
has been fixed at 0.8 ms.
Fig. 3 presents a partial record of U and W as a func-
tion of time (Re
M
= 8250, x/M = 20). More than 1000
samples are shown here.
2.3. Data analysis
2.3.1. Determination of mean and turbulent velocities
For a current flow, U is constant over T and is then
defined from an averaged of the whole set of data (3)
whereas velocity fluctuations are calculated following
(4):
U ¼
1
N

N
i¼1
U
i
ð3Þ
Fig. 2. The grid (M = 0.033 m; d
b
= 0.006 m).
F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935 927
u
0
¼
ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
1
N

N
i¼1
ðU
i
ÀUÞ
2
_ _
¸
¸
¸
_
ð4Þ
During the measurements, few particles which do not
follow the flow might be recorded. Nevertheless, they do
not modify U [5,6,11] if they do not represent more than
5% of N. No filtering technique is then needed to get U
and W .
This is different for u
0
and w
0
[11]. At this stage, ‘‘exo-
tic’’ data must be removed to avoid any bias in u
0
and
w
0
. We have decided that all samples separated from
the mean value for more than 3 standard deviations
are deleted. Less than 1% of the data are removed. This
has no effect on data interpretation as expected by Srik-
antaiah and Coleman [27].
2.3.2. Taylor hypothesis
Theoretically, the turbulence developing downstream
of a grid is homogeneous and isotropic [9]. Time and
space properties of the flow are related to each others
according to U (5). This is the Taylor hypothesis, also
called ‘‘frozen turbulence hypothesis’’.
o
ot
¼ ÀU
o
ox
ð5Þ
Some others conditions must be satisfied for a grid-
generated turbulence. Particularly, the level of turbu-
lence needs to be lower than 20% and U must always
be the same along ~x. The most important consequence
is that the dissipation rate (e) can be deduced from the
spatial evolution of the turbulent kinetic energy (j).
2.3.3. Length and time scales of turbulence
There are different scales of turbulence. The macro
scales correspond to the biggest energetic structures,
the micro scales are defined as the smallest scales which
do not dissipate energy. Lastly, the Kolmogorov scales
are the smallest dissipative scales of the flow. Here, we
are interested in all of them. The following relationships
show how they can be deduced from u
0
, e and m:
L
f
¼
u
03
e
ðaÞ T
t
¼
L
f
u
0
ðbÞ ð6Þ
k
f
¼
ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
30t
u
2
e
¸
ðaÞ s
t
¼
1
15
k
f
u
0
ðbÞ ð7Þ
g
K
¼
t
3
e
_ _
1=4
ðaÞ s
K
¼
t
e
_ _
1=2
ðbÞ
v
K
¼ ðteÞ
1=4
ðcÞ ð8Þ
Based on the estimation of the j and e, this ‘‘energetic
technique’’ is well-adapted to many flows and has
been successfully applied by Comte-Bellot and Corrsin
[9], Wei and Willmarth [30] or Benedict and Gould
[5,6].
3. Experimental results
A detailed preliminary analysis of the non-disturbed
flow is presented by Murzyn [21]. It particularly shows
that the mean turbulence level is below 4% downstream
of the honeycomb.
The first part of the results concerns evolutions of U,
W , u
0
and w
0
downstream of the grid. We only show re-
sults for Re
M
= 8250 but same trends are obtained for
Re
M
= 7425 and 10,725. Longitudinal and transversal
profiles are performed at the centerline of the channel
(z/d = 0.5).
3.1. Mean and turbulent velocity profiles
Fig. 4 presents both evolutions of U and W as a func-
tion of the distance to the grid x/M.
These plots show that U and W do not strongly
change when x/M increases. When the flow passes
through the grid, it is accelerated. Nevertheless, it rap-
idly recovers a constant level. Its direction is not affected
by the grid. W =U
max
does not exceed 5%. This is low but
three times greater than it was for the non-disturbed
flow. For x/M > 15, U and W remain almost constants.
The vertical profiles of U and W are represented on
Fig. 5 for x/M = 5, 15 and 30. The boundary condition
(z/M = 0) impose that U = W = 0. U
max,p
is the maxi-
mum horizontal velocity obtained for the corresponding
profile. Thus, U=U
max;p
and W =U
max;p
are smaller or
equal to 1.
Our results indicate different behaviors depending on
x/M. Closed to the grid (x/M = 5), U can be negative for
smallest z/M. In this region, a recirculating area takes
place due to the frame of the grid. For x/M = 5, profiles
0 5 10 15 20
-0.04
-0.02
0.00
0.02
0.04
0.06
0 5 10 15 20
0.20
0.22
0.24
0.26
0.28
0.30
U
t
t
W
Fig. 3. Time series of velocity components (U and W, Re
M
= 8250).
928 F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935
are not flat and uniform. As x/M increases, this non-
homogeneity tends to disappear. From x/M = 15, all
profiles become flat revealing a homogeneous flow.
Fig. 6 describe the evolution of U and W along the
transverse axis ð~yÞ at x/M = 20, 40 and 60. U
axis
is the
mean velocity at on the centreline of the channel.
A symmetric behavior is displayed around y/M = 0
independent of x/M depicting a homogeneous flow on
the transversal axis.
At this stage, we can conclude that the mean flow
downstream of the grid is homogeneous for 15 < x/
M < 60, À3 < y/M < 3 and 3 < z/M < 8. This defines
the new region of the future investigations. The aim of
the following analysis is the characterization of the
homogeneity of the turbulent field downstream of the
grid.
Fig. 7 deal with the evolutions of horizontal (I
x
) and
vertical (I
z
) turbulent intensities. These figures reveal
that both I
x
and I
z
rapidly decrease in the closest region
downstream of the grid (0 < x/M < 15). After that, it
nearly remains constant. For x/M > 15, turbulence
intensities are 25% higher than those measured for the
non-disturbed flow [21].
Results also show that I
x,z
are lower than 20%. This is
in good agreement with Cadiergue [7] and Michelet et al.
[20]. These authors found I
x
= 3% at x/M = 30.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.1
x/M
U
mean
/U
max
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.00
0.02
0.04
0.06
x/M
W
mean
/U
max
Fig. 4. Longitudinal profiles of U and W downstream of the grid (Re
M
= 8250).
0
2
4
6
8
10
-0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2
x/M=5
x/M=30 x/M=50
z/M
U
mean
/U
max.p
0
2
4
6
8
10
-0.02 0.00 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12
x/M=5 x/M=15
x/M=30 x/M=50
z/M
W
mean
/U
max. p
x/M=15
Fig. 5. Vertical profiles of U and W at different positions x/M (Re
M
= 8250).
-4 -2 0 2 4
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
x/M=20
x/M=40
x/M=60
y/M
U
mean
/U
axis
-4 -2 0 2 4
0.00
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.10
x/M=20
x/M=40
x/M=60
y/M
W
mean
/U
axis
Fig. 6. Transversal profiles of U and W at different positions x/M (Re
M
= 8250).
F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935 929
Cenedese et al. [8] gave 0.07 < I
x
< 20. For x/M > 100,
the viscous dissipation becomes more important.
Fig. 8 describe the evolution of I
x
and I
z
from the
bottom (z/M = 0) to the free surface for three sections
downstream of the grid. On the bottom, I
x
= I
z
= 0
(boundary condition).
The bottom has a strong influence on the shape of I
x
and I
z
. For z/M < 3, they reach 20% and 18% respec-
tively. This is caused by the frame of the grid which cre-
ates a strong turbulent area near z/M = 0. The free
surface has also an influence on I
x
and I
z
. For z/M > 9
and x/M = 15, I
x
and I
z
take values of 13% and 10%
meaning that the influence of the air/water interface is
less important than the bottom one on the turbulent
intensities.
Lastly, Fig. 9 represents the behaviors of I
x
and I
y
along ~y for different positions downstream of the grid.
These results indicate that turbulence intensities exhi-
bit some differences around the centerline. For y/M < 0,
lower values are found. Nevertheless, the variations are
quite small round y/M = 0. A default on the parallelism
of the walls is one of the possible reasons to explain that
point. One other reason could be the persistence of a
‘‘small mean vortex’’ in the channel.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
x/M
I
x
=u'/U
moy
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
I
z
=w'/U
moy
x/M
Fig. 7. Turbulence intensities I
x
and I
z
downstream of the grid (Re
M
= 8250).
0
2
4
6
8
10
0.0
x/M=15
x/M=30
x/M=50
z/M
I
x
0
2
4
6
8
10
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3
x/M=15
x/M=30
x/M=50
z/M
I
z
0.1 0.2 0.3
Fig. 8. Vertical profiles of I
x
and I
z
at different positions x/M (Re
M
= 8250).
-4 -2 0 2 4
0.00
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.10
x/M=20
x/M=40
x/M=60
y/M
I
x
-4 -2 0 2 4
0.00
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.10
x/M=20
x/M=40
x/M=60
I
z
y/M
Fig. 9. Transversal profiles of I
x
and I
z
at different positions x/M (Re
M
= 8250).
930 F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935
These last results (Figs. 7–9) justify that the turbulent
flow is homogeneous in the domain defined by 15 < x/
M < 60, À3 < y/M < 3 and 3 < z/M < 8.
Fig. 10 helps us to characterize the isotropy. It shows
the evolution of u
0
/w
0
along the horizontal axis on the
centreline of the channel.
Although the data scattering (lower on the left part),
this plot is interesting. Indeed, it shows that the mean
value of u
0
/w
0
is 1.1. This is in good agreement with
the results of Gibson and Dakos [16] obtained in a wind
tunnel. These authors also argue that a small anisotropy
(10%) is often found for a grid-generated turbulence.
Farther downstream, u
0
/w
0
takes higher values meaning
the beginning of region with a small anisotropy (x/
M > 50). Using a contraction, Comte-Bellot and Corrsin
[9] got a mean value of 1 (perfect isotropy). Unfortu-
nately, this arrangement is not possible for our experi-
ments due to the presence of the free surface.
As a conclusion, an isotropic region is defined start-
ing at x/M = 15 for À3 < y/M < 3 and 3 < z/M < 8. In
this area, the Taylor hypothesis can be applied. From
now, we only consider this domain.
3.2. Turbulent kinetic energy and dissipation
The Taylor hypothesis states that turbulence scales
can be deduced from the measurements of the turbulent
kinetic energy j ¼
1
2
u
2
þv
2
þw
2
_ _ _ _
and its dissipation
e ¼
oj
ot
_ _
. This so-called ‘‘energetic method’’ has been
successfully used by Tennekes and Lumley [28], Mich-
elet [19], Michelet et al. [20] and Cadiergue [7].
Our LDV system is only 2D. Thus, the transversal
component of the velocity (V) is not available. For
homogeneous and isotropic flow, we suppose that
v
2
¼ w
2
[1]. Fig. 11 presents evolutions of j and e
according to x/M.
On the one hand, these graphs tend to prove that the
decay of the turbulent kinetic energy is mainly concen-
trated closed to the grid (x/M < 15). On the other hand,
the decay of the dissipation is more evident [21]. In the
isotropic region, it follows a power law (e#(x/M)
À2
).
Turbulence length and time scales can now be esti-
mated. First of all, we are interested in the length scales.
Then, we will discuss about the time scales. Finally, the
Kolmogorov scales will be presented. Results are shown
for three different mean horizontal velocities (U ¼
0:225 m/s, 0.25 m/s and 0.325 m/s). The corresponding
Reynolds number are Re
M
= 7425, 8250 and 10,725.
3.3. Length scales of turbulence
In Fig. 12 are plotted the evolutions of the macro
length scale of turbulence as a function of x/M. The
length scales are normalized with M.
As seen, these results show that L
f
/M grows regularly
with x/M. At x/M = 15, it is equal to 0.5. Then it in-
creases to more than 2 (at x/M = 40). Farther down-
stream, the data scattering becomes significant. On the
one hand, this can be explained as a return of the flow
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
u'/w'
x/M
Mean level
Fig. 10. Isotropy of the flow (Re
M
= 8250).
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
10
-6
10
-5
10
-4
10
-3
10
-2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
10
-5
10
-4
10
-3
10
-2
x/M
x/M
Fig. 11. Turbulent kinetic energy and its dissipation downstream of
the grid (Re
M
= 8250).
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Re
M
=7425
x/M
L
f
/M
Re
M
=8250
Re
M
=10725
Fig. 12. Macro length scale of turbulence.
F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935 931
to an anisotropic state for the highest x/M as mentioned
by Gibson and Dakos [16]. On the other hand, L
f
is de-
fined as a function of u
03
(5a). Lastly, no influence of U
is noticed on L
f
. This size structures is imposed by the
mesh size (source of the turbulence).
In terms of comparison, the agreement is clearly good
with previous studies. Bailly and Comte-Bellot [1] gave
the same order of magnitude (L
f
/M = 0.47 at x/
M = 42) whereas Cadiergue [7] found that 1 < L
f
/
M < 6 for 20 < x/M < 80 with an increase of data scat-
tering as well. For Yearling and Gould [31], this ratio
evolves between 0.2 and 0.5 when 2 < x/M < 20 with a
linear growth. For cylindrical bars, Gibson and Dakos
[16] and Sirivat and Warhaft [26] gave L
f
/M = 2.5 and
3.2 at x/M = 100.
The small differences may come from the experi-
mental set-up (vertical flow for Cadiergue [7], cylindri-
cal bars for Gibson and Dakos [16] or Sirivat and
Warhaft [26]) and from the data processing technique
used to define u
0
and w
0
(no data filtering for Cadier-
gue [7]).
Fig. 13 concerns the micro length scale of turbulence
(k
f
is called ‘‘Taylor micro scale’’ as well). Results are
still normalized with M.
Re
M
has almost no influence on k
f
(or slightly). It
grows from 0.15 to 0.5 whatever U is. The range of
k
f
is then situated between 0.005 m and 0.0165 m. Data
scattering is lower than for L
f
/M. Indeed, this scale is
proportional to
ffiffiffiffiffi
u
2
_
(6a) instead of u
03
for L
f
(Fig.
14).
Comparing the present results with others experimen-
tal studies reveals a good correlation again. When
Cadiergue [7] indicates that 0.6 < k
f
/M < 1.3 for
20 < x/M < 80, Michelet et al. [20] have found 0.5 < k
f
/
M < 0.6 for 30 < x/M < 70. For Belmabrouck [2], the ra-
tio k
f
/M evolves between 0.2 and 0.25 (20 < x/M < 50).
Benedict and Gould [6] argue that 0.25 < k
f
/M < 0.4
for 16 < x/M < 44.
This tends to point out that L
f
/k
f
may not influenced
by U. Fig. 14 confirms this feeling.
3.4. Time scales of turbulence
Time scales of turbulence are also of importance.
They provide time characteristics of the flow which are
useful for experimental studies. For instance, they help
to define duration of acquisition (macro time scale, T
t
)
or the mesh size Dt for numerical codes (micro time
scale, s
t
). Here we are firstly interested in T
t
. This scale
is related to the ‘‘extinction time’’ of the turbulence. It
corresponds to the time scale of the largest eddies. These
structures are responsible for the turbulent diffusion and
the energy exchange between the mean and the turbulent
flows. It also gives an estimation of their persistence.
Fig. 15 is the evolution of T
t
(macro time scale) as a
function of x/M.
Fig. 15 displays that T
t
regularly increases from 0.7 s
(x/M = 15) to nearly 8 s at x/M = 50. This always stays
lower than the duration of the acquisition (T = 50 s)
and it does not exceed 15% of T. Thus, it confirms our
hypothesis beforehand supposed saying that T )T
t
. A
turbulent eddy (moving at U) will cover less than 2 m.
It does not have enough time to reach the end of the
flume located more than 10 m downstream of the grid.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
f
λ /M
x/M
Re
M
=10725
Re
M
=8250
Re
M
=7425
Fig. 13. Micro length scale of turbulence.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Re
M
=7425
Re
M
=8250
Re
M
=10725
x/M
L λ
f
/
f
Fig. 14. Evolution of L
f
/k
f
.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Re
M
=7425
Re
M
=8250
Re
M
=10725
x/M
T
t
Fig. 15. Macro time scale of turbulence.
932 F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935
In the same way, Fig. 16 describes the behavior of the
Taylor micro time scale (s
t
) with x/M. Although s
t
in-
creases with x/M (from less than 0.06–0.4 s), a difference
appears depending on Re
M
. The Reynolds number
affects the growth of s
t
. The larger Re
M
is the lower s
t
is. According to the previous results (Fig. 13), this could
indicate that the velocity scale of the Taylor micro scale
increases with U.
3.5. Kolmogorov scales
Kolmogorov postulates that the key parameters
governing the small-scale motion are the dissipation
rate (e) and the kinematic viscosity (m). From that,
he defines space (g
K
), time (s
K
) and velocity (v
K
)
scales representative of the smallest dissipative struc-
tures. Below this domain, the action of the viscosity
rules over the rest. Fig. 17 presents the evolutions of
these scales.
For g
K
, there is an influence of U. The highest U is
the lowest g
K
is. g
K
goes from 0.0002 to 0.00055 m.
The best fit to these data is a power law such as
g
K
#(x/M)
0.48
.
For s
K
, a similar trend is depicted. The smallest dis-
sipative structures persist during 0.05–0.3 s. They are
transported by the mean flow over less than 0.075 m
(2.3 M).
Lastly, v
k
increase with U and decrease with x/M
from 0.005 m/s to 0.002 m/s.
3.6. Reynolds number associated with micro scales
In relation with k
f
, a Reynolds number ðRe
kg
Þ is asso-
ciated (for isotropic turbulence, k
f
¼
ffiffiffi
2
p
k
g
). It defines
the separation between the biggest and smallest eddies.
Theoretically, when Re
kg
< 10, the beginning of the final
decay zone of turbulence is reached [1].
Our estimations for Re
kg
are plotted on Fig. 18.
The beginning of the final decay region of the turbu-
lence is not reached even for x/M = 70. Bailly and
Comte-Bellot [1] expect this region to start for x/
M > 100. This tends to confirm their expectations.
4. Conclusions
In the present paper, we aimed to investigate the grid-
generated turbulence features (mesh size M) in a current
flow with a free surface (constant water depth,
d = 0.35 m). A 2D LDV system was used to measure
the velocity fields at mid-depth in this homogeneous
and isotropic flow. Through Taylor hypothesis, turbu-
lence length and time scales have been estimated for
three different experimental conditions corresponding
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
Re
M
=7425
Re
M
=8250
Re
M
=10725
x/M
t
τ
Fig. 16. Micro time scale of turbulence.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0.0000
0.0001
0.0002
0.0003
0.0004
0.0005
0.0006
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.000
0.001
0.002
0.003
0.004
0.005
x/M
K
Re
M
=7425 Re
M
=8250 Re
M
=10725
x/M
K
x/M
K
Fig. 17. Kolmogorov length, time and velocity scales.
F. Murzyn, M. Be´ lorgey / Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 29 (2005) 925–935 933
to Re
M
of 7425, 8250 and 10,725. Our results point out
that:
• A detailed study of the disturbed flow (mean and tur-
bulent fields) show that a homogeneous and isotropic
region is found starting 15 M downstream of the grid.
In this area (15 < x/M < 60, À3 < y/M < 3, 3 < z/
M < 8), the Taylor hypothesis is valid and turbulence
length and time scale may be then determined
through an ‘‘energetic method’’;
• The macro length scale of turbulence (L
f
) grows with
the distance to the grid x/M from 0.5 (x/M = 15) to
more than 2 (x/M = 40). Results exhibit not only a
strong agreement with several previous studies but
also demonstrate that U does not influence L
f
. The
size of the biggest eddies are mainly imposed by the
size of the source of turbulence (M in this case);
• The micro length scale of turbulence (k
f
) increases
with x/M as well. Typical values of k
f
are located
between 0.005 m (0.15 M) and 0.0165 m (0.5 M). As
shown for L
f
, U is not a key parameter governing
their behavior and the ratio L
f
/k
f
is then independent
of Re
M
;
• The macro time scale of turbulence (T
t
) can reach up
to 8 s at x/M < 50. So, the biggest eddies are con-
vected over a maximum distance of 2 m which is
not long enough to get to the end of the flume;
• The micro time scale of turbulence (s
t
) develops with
the distance to the grid from 0.15 s to 0.6 s at x/
M = 60. The role of U is stronger: the highest U is
the shorter s
t
is;
• The Kolmogorov scales have been estimated as well
showing different behaviors. At a fixed position x/
M, as U increases, g
K
and s
K
decrease whereas v
K
takes greater values.
• The evolution of the Reynolds number of turbulence
ðRe
kg
Þ does not allow to define the beginning of the
final decay region of the turbulence which may start
at x/M > 100.
All these results provide interesting information on
the turbulence features developing behind an obstacle
in a current flow. Previous studies proved that the free
surface have an influence on the structure of the turbu-
lence closed to an air/water interface, either in current or
in wave/current flows [22]. This present experimental
study was more focused on the role of the current and
aimed to fully describe the features of a ‘‘well-known’’
turbulence which is often used due to its homogeneous
and isotropic properties. This work could be useful
and bring further knowledge to study sediment trans-
port in flood and ebb tides as well as in rivers flows
where current prevails over waves. Nevertheless, one
should be careful to the experimental set-up. The thick-
ness of the grid frame needs to be as small as possible to
avoid any additional interactions with the flow.
Future works could be undertaken to analyze the
interaction between turbulence and sand particles in
terms of bed load or suspension transport. Studies on
scour erosion can be lead as well to identify key param-
eters governing particle motions. Closed to the air/water
interface, the multiphase flow (air/water/particles) would
require particular devices such as optical probes (air
fraction) or ultrasonic sensors (solid fraction).
Acknowledgement
The authors want to thank the Regional Council of
Basse—Normandie and the European Community for
their financial support.
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