Classical Physics


Potential Vortex Transient Analysis and Experiment

Authors: John R. Cipolla

A series of experiments and hydrodynamic analyses has been conducted to resolve the paradox that a viscous-flow distribution between concentric cylinders can be identical to a potential vortex (inviscid-flow) distribution at steady state. Where a potential vortex or tornado can be described as the flow around and through a drain hole at the bottom of a large container. As an approximation to this phenomenon, an experimental device to simulate a three dimensional potential vortex was fabricated that used a rapidly rotating central cylinder or rotating core located on the axis of a cylindrical basin filled with water. The fluid surface shape and velocity profile of an artificially generated potential vortex or free vortex was experimentally measured and compared with hydrodynamic models to define the viscid and inviscid nature of the potential vortex flow. A new program called VORTEX based on a finite difference solution of the Navier-Stokes equations was developed to determine the transient velocity profile and transient free surface shape of the potential vortex for comparison with experiment. From these experiments it is proposed the paradox is resolved because energy-momentum is conserved in a potential vortex under steady state conditions. This work can be applied to the measurement of the potential vortex flow generated by aircraft wing tips, interior flow of aircraft jet engines, rocket motor propellant tanks and natural phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes and General Relativity.

Comments: 22 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2014-03-26 07:13:03

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