Experimental observation using particle image velocimetry of inertial waves in a rotating fluid


Inertial waves generated by a small oscillating disk in a rotating water filled cylinder are observed by means of a corotating particle image velocimetry system. The wave takes place in a stationary conical wavepacket, whose angle aperture depends on the oscillation frequency. Direct visualisation of the velocity and vorticity fields in a plane normal to the rotation axis are presented. The characteristic wavelength is found to be approximately equal to the disk diameter. The classical dispersion relation for plane waves is verified from the radial location of the wavepacket, and from the ellipticity of the projected velocity diagram.

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  1. 1.

    DaVis software, by LaVision GmbH, Anna-Vandenhoeck-Ring 19, 37081 Göttingen, Germany, complemented with the PIVMat toolbox for Matlab,

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    Animations of vorticity fields are available at the URL


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The authors wish to acknowledge A. Aubertin, C. Borget, G. Chauvin, A. Minière and R. Pidoux for experimental help. They also thank J.P. Hulin for fruitful discussions, and G. Tan for help with the manuscript. This work was supported by the ANR grant no. 06-BLAN-0363-01 “HiSpeedPIV”.

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Correspondence to Frédéric Moisy.

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Messio, L., Morize, C., Rabaud, M. et al. Experimental observation using particle image velocimetry of inertial waves in a rotating fluid. Exp Fluids 44, 519–528 (2008) doi:10.1007/s00348-007-0410-3

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  • Vorticity
  • Dispersion Relation
  • Particle Image Velocimetry
  • Fluid Particle
  • Particle Image Velocimetry Measurement