Infoscience

Journal article

Characteristics of solitary waves on a falling liquid film sheared by a turbulent counter-current gas flow

We report an experimental investigation of a falling water film sheared by a turbulent counter-current air flow in an inclined rectangular channel. Film thickness and wave velocity measurements associated with visual observation are conducted to study the influence of the air flow on controlled traveling waves consisting of a large wave hump preceded by capillary ripples. First, we focus on the variation of the shape, amplitude and velocity of the waves as the gas velocity is gradually increased. We demonstrate that the amplitude of the main hump grows substantially even for moderate gas velocities, whereas modification of the wave celerity becomes significant above a specific gas velocity around 4 m/s, associated with an alteration of the capillary region. The influence of the gas flow on 3D secondary instabilities of the solitary waves detected in a previous study Kofman et al. (2014), namely rugged or scallop waves, is also investigated. We show that the capillary mode is damped while the inertial mode is enhanced by the interfacial shear. Next, the gas velocity is increased until the onset of upstream-moving patterns referred to as flooding in our experiments. At moderate inclination angles (typically < 7), flooding occurs for a gas velocity around 8 m/s and is initiated at the scallop wave crests by a backward wave-breaking phenomenon preceded by the onset of ripples on the flat residual film separating two waves. At high inclination angle, a rapid development of solitons is observed as the air velocity is increased preventing the waves to turn back. Finally, at high liquid Reynolds number, sudden and intermittent events are triggered consisting of very large amplitude waves that go back upwards very fast. These "slugs" either extend over the whole width of the channel or are very localized and can thus potentially evolve towards atomization. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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