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Title: Turbulent transport and mixing in transitional Rayleigh-Taylor unstable flow: A priori assessment of gradient-diffusion and similarity modeling

Data from a 1152×760×1280 direct numerical simulation of a Rayleigh-Taylor mixing layer modeled after a small-Atwood-number water-channel experiment is used to investigate the validity of gradient diffusion and similarity closures a priori. The budgets of the mean flow, turbulent kinetic energy, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate, heavy-fluid mass fraction variance, and heavy-fluid mass fraction variance dissipation rate transport equations across the mixing layer were previously analyzed at different evolution times to identify the most important transport and mixing mechanisms. Here a methodology is introduced to systematically estimate model coefficients as a function of time in the closures of the dynamically significant terms in the transport equations by minimizing the L2 norm of the difference between the model and correlations constructed using the simulation data. It is shown that gradient-diffusion and similarity closures used for the turbulent kinetic energy K, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate ε, heavy-fluid mass fraction variance S, and heavy-fluid mass fraction variance dissipation rate χ equations capture the shape of the exact, unclosed profiles well over the nonlinear and turbulent evolution regimes. Using order-of-magnitude estimates for the terms in the exact transport equations and their closure models, it is shown that several of the standard closures formore » the turbulent production and dissipation (destruction) must be modified to include Reynolds-number scalings appropriate for Rayleigh-Taylor flow at small to intermediate Reynolds numbers. The late-time, large Reynolds number coefficients are determined to be different from those used in shear flow applications and largely adopted in two-equation Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) models of Rayleigh-Taylor turbulent mixing. In addition, it is shown that the predictions of the Boussinesq model for the Reynolds stress agree better with the data when additional buoyancy-related terms are included. It is shown that an unsteady RANS paradigm is needed to predict the transitional flow dynamics from early evolution times, analogous to the small Reynolds number modifications in RANS models of wall-bounded flows in which the production-to-dissipation ratio is far from equilibrium. Although the present study is specific to one particular flow and one set of initial conditions, the methodology could be applied to calibrations of other Rayleigh-Taylor flows with different initial conditions (which may give different results during the early-time, transitional flow stages, and perhaps asymptotic stage). Finally, the implications of these findings for developing high-fidelity eddy viscosity-based turbulent transport and mixing models of Rayleigh-Taylor turbulence are discussed.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States); Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0045; PLEEE8; 894615
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review E
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 96; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0045
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1413370