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Transient Gas Jets into Liquid


Lin, Jane Ming-Chin (1987) Transient Gas Jets into Liquid. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/4qp0-4x37.


An experimental investigation of the development of high velocity, impulsively initiated gas jets into liquid was conducted in an effort to understand some of the physical processes that occur for a jet of very light fluid into a dense ambient atmosphere. Four gases, refrigerants 12 and 22, nitrogen, and helium were injected into water at nozzle exit Mach numbers from 1.0 to 2.2.

The study showed that a gas jet into water develops in at least three stages: startup, transition, and global steady state. The startup is characterized by bubble growth; the growth rate is well predicted by classical bubble-growth theory. Jet transition is marked by axially directed flow, which penetrates through the startup bubble and which forms a cylindrical protrusion along the axis of symmetry. A combination of strong recirculating flow and liquid entrainment causes the startup bubble to deflate and to lift off and move downstream. In the steady state, instantaneous photographs show small-scale fluctuations of the jet boundary, but time-averaged photographs show the expected conical spreading of the steady jet; the measured spreading angles range from 18-25 degrees.

However, the most significant finding of this study is that under some conditions, the gas jet into liquid never reaches the global steady state. Instead, the jet boundary exhibits chugging: large nonlinear oscillations which lead to irregular collapses of the gas column followed by explosive outward bursts of gas. The unsteadiness observed is much more violent than the familiar fluctuations typical of constant-density jets. The length scale of the motion is generally on the order of several jet diameters; the time scale is on the order of the period for bubble collapse.

It was found that the amplitude and frequency of chugging are strongly dependent on the ratio of the liquid density to the gas density, the jet Mach number, and the operating pressure ratio. The conditions under which unsteadiness occurs were determined experimentally. In particular, a quantitative measure of jet susceptibility to unsteadiness has been established. Steady jets can be achieved in two ways: by being discharged from deLaval nozzles (increasing the exit Mach number) or by being overpressured.

The unsteady behavior is modeled as the collapse of a bubble in liquid; comparisons of collapse times show good agreement. A mechanism for the unsteadiness is discussed. It is proposed that the chugging is the response of the jet boundary to a pressure difference between the jet and surrounding liquid, which arises as the result of the rapid expansion of a light fluid into a dense ambient atmosphere. The flow is shown to be similar to the discharge of a gas from a nozzle into a channel of larger cross section. An upper limit to the pressure difference is determined based on estimates of the minimum base pressure for such channel flows; a lower limit is established for the collapse time. All experimental values are within the bounds. The derived values indicate that the pressure differences between the jet and liquid may be more than 90 percent of the ambient pressure.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Sturtevant, Bradford
Thesis Committee:
  • Sturtevant, Bradford (chair)
  • Roshko, Anatol
  • Zukoski, Edward E.
  • Babcock, Charles D.
  • Knowles, James K.
Defense Date:25 July 1986
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AT03-80ER10634
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04262004-113723
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1504
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:26 Apr 2004
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:22

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