An experimental investigation was designed to test the hypothesis that all axisymmetric turbulent free jets become asymptotically independent of the source conditions and may be described by classical similarity analysis. Effects of initial conditions were studied by varying jet exit boundary conditions and the global density ratio. The exit velocity profile and turbulence level was changed by using both pipe and nozzle flow hardware. Initial density differences were imposed by using three gases: helium, methane, and propane. The scalar field (concentration) in the momentum-dominated regime of the far field (10 to 60 jet exit diameters downstream) of turbulent free jets was characterized using Rayleigh light scattering as the diagnostic. The results show that regardless of the initial conditions axisymmetric turbulent free jets decay at the same rate, spread at the same angle, and both the mean and r.m.s. values collapse in a form consistent with full self-preservation. The means and fluctuations follow a law of full self-preservation in which two virtual origins must be specified. The two displacements are required to account for the effects of a finite source of momentum and different development of the velocity and mass distributions in the near fields of the jets. The memory of the jet is embodied in these two virtual origins.
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