This paper presents a study of area production in mixing layers undergoing transition to turbulence. These layers evolve from the mixing of two initially segregated counterflowing streams under supercritical conditions. The study may contribute to development of means to control area production in order to increase disintegration of fluids and enhance combustion in diesel, gas turbine, and liquid rocket engines. As used here, “area production” signifies the fractional rate of change of surface area oriented perpendicular to the mass-fraction gradient in a mixing layer. In the study, a database of transitional states obtained from direct numerical simulations of temporal three-dimensional supercritical mixing layers for heptane/nitrogen and oxygen/hydrogen systems was analyzed. A few of the many conclusions drawn from the analysis are that area production is determined more by strain than by compressibility; area is produced by strain and convective effects; area is destroyed by species mass flux, rotational effects, and pressure gradients; area can be either produced or destroyed by pressure gradients; and effects of viscosity on area production are negligible. Effects of departure from perfect-gas and ideal-mixture behavior were found to be important. Smaller-wavelength initial perturbations were found to lead to greater area production: this observation could be a guide to initial development of control of area production.

This work was done by Josette Bellan and Nora Okong’o of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To obtain a copy of the paper, “Area Production in Supercritical, Transitional Mixing Layers for Reactive Flow Applications,” access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-30425

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This article first appeared in the May, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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