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Design and testing of a turbulence probe for harsh flows

Findlater, P.A., Greenhill, S.E. and Scott, W.D. (2001) Design and testing of a turbulence probe for harsh flows. Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 1 (1). pp. 3-28.

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The force of wind on the ground created by turbulent eddies is commonly used to describe the horizontal flux of material during wind erosion. Here we present the Murdoch Turbulence Probe, an instrument for use in both clean and eroding flows which uses pressure differences to measure the three components of wind velocity. Correlation techniques calculate the forces near the ground and turbulence statistics in nearly real time, including turbulent velocity fluctuations from less than 0.1 Hz to 200 Hz, mean flow velocities, Reynolds stresses as well as the integral length and time scales. In the portable wind-tunnel used by Agriculture Western Australia, turbulence statistics were recorded over stable surfaces and in blowing sand from the initiation of erosion up to the time the sand supply was exhausted. Estimates of the friction velocity derived from the turbulence probe were compared with estimates obtained from the wind speed profile measured with a rake of pitot and static tubes. The Murdoch Turbulence Probe appears to work well in sandblasting conditions. Relative turbulence intensities ranged from 0.11 to 0.2 and are in close agreement with values in the literature. The ratio of the turbulence to the friction velocity (3 to 3.2) is at the high end of the reported range. The Reynolds stress measurements agree closely with predictions of the threshold friction velocities of the sand and estimates from the wind speed profile with a von Kármán constant of about 0.3, lower than the commonly accepted value of 0.4. We suggest that the wind-tunnel profile represents the 'outer layer' of the boundary-layer that may best be described by a 'Wake Law' or 'Defect Law'. At about 54 mm above the surface, the friction velocity decreases from 0.64 m/s to 0.39 m/s and the mean velocity increases from 9.6 m/s to 11.6 m/s as the supply of sand is depleted. In addition to the friction velocity, other scales may be necessary to characterise the overriding effect of the wind and in extending wind-tunnel results to the field.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
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