Dynamics of large turbulent structures in a steady breaker Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2011

start page

  • 301

end page

  • 310


  • 2


  • 35

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-1777

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2286


  • The flow near the leading edge of a steady breaker has been studied experimentally using Bubble Image Velocimetry (BIV) with the aim of characterizing the dynamics of the large eddies responsible for air entrainment. It is well reported in the literature, and confirmed by our measurements of the instantaneous velocity field, that this flow shares some important features with the turbulent shear-layer formed between two parallel semi-infinite streams with different velocities. Namely, the formation of a periodic array of coherent vortices, the constant convective velocity of those vortices, the linear relation between their size and their downstream position and the self-similar structure of both mean velocity profiles and Reynolds shear stresses. Nonetheless, important differences exists between the dynamics of the large eddies in a steady breaker and those in a free shear-layer. Particularly, the convective velocity of these large structures is slower in a steady breaker and, consistent with this, their growth rates are larger. A physical interpretation of these differences is provided together with a discussion of their implications. To support our measurements and conclusions, we present a careful analysis of the accuracy of the BIV technique in turbulent flows with large bubbles