It is argued on the basis of exact solutions for uniform vortices in straining fields that vortices of finite cross-section in a row will disintegrate if the spacing is too small. The results are applied to the organized vortex structures observed in turbulent mixing layers. An explanation is provided for the disappearance of these structures as they move downstream and it is deduced that the ratio of average spacing to width should be about 3·5, the width being defined by the maximum slope of the mean velocity. It is shown in an appendix that walls have negligible effect.
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