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Simulation of air–water interfacial mass transfer driven by high-intensity isotropic turbulence

  • H. Herlina (a1) and J. G. Wissink (a2)

Previous direct numerical simulations (DNS) of mass transfer across the air–water interface have been limited to low-intensity turbulent flow with turbulent Reynolds numbers of $R_{T}\leqslant 500$ . This paper presents the first DNS of low-diffusivity interfacial mass transfer across a clean surface driven by high-intensity ( $1440\leqslant R_{T}\leqslant 1856$ ) isotropic turbulent flow diffusing from below. The detailed results, presented here for Schmidt numbers $Sc=20$ and $500$ , support the validity of theoretical scaling laws and existing experimental data obtained at high $R_{T}$ . In the DNS, to properly resolve the turbulent flow and the scalar transport at $Sc=20$ , up to $524\times 10^{6}$ grid points were needed, while $65.5\times 10^{9}$ grid points were required to resolve the scalar transport at $Sc=500$ , which is typical for oxygen in water. Compared to the low- $R_{T}$ simulations, where turbulent mass flux is dominated by large eddies, in the present high- $R_{T}$ simulation the contribution of small eddies to the turbulent mass flux was confirmed to increase significantly. Consequently, the normalised mass transfer velocity was found to agree with the $R_{T}^{-1/4}$ scaling, as opposed to the $R_{T}^{-1/2}$ scaling that is typical for low- $R_{T}$ simulations. At constant $R_{T}$ , the present results show that the mass transfer velocity $K_{L}$ scales with $Sc^{-1/2}$ , which is identical to the scaling found in the large-eddy regime for $R_{T}\leqslant 500$ . As previously found for a no-slip interface, also for a shear-free interface the critical $R_{T}$ separating the large- from the small-eddy regime was confirmed to be approximately $R_{T}=500$ .

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