Assessment of and Improvements to Acoustic Velocimetry in Flows in Core-like Geometries

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Anthony Robert Mautino1, Matthew M Adams1, Douglas Stone1, Santiago A Triana2, Daniel Perry Lathrop1 and Vedran Lekic1, (1)University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States, (2)KU Leuven, Dover, NH, United States
Rapidly rotating fluid flows are found in a wide variety of geophysical and astrophysical contexts, including the Earth’s outer core. The dynamics of such flows can be studied experimentally at conditions inaccessible to computational modeling. However, accurately measuring the mean and time-varying flows noninvasively presents a technical challenge, particularly in opaque liquids. In this study, we tackle the problem of mapping zonal flow profiles in spherical Couette flows, shear flows in a core-like geometry. These rotating flows induce shifts and splittings in the spectrum of the acoustically resonant fluid-filled cavity. The azimuthal component of flow can be estimated from the spectra of the acoustic modes, using inversion procedures adapted from Helioseismology.

Here, we present a technique for reconstructing the mean velocity field using modal analysis by way of the Finite Element Method, which is used to compute the forward model accurately, taking into account structural geometries associated with the experimental setups, such as shafts and axles. Accurate forward modeling is crucial for reliable mode identification, and we demonstrate that it allows us to identify many more modes than is possible when using the spherically symmetric approximation. We model flow geometry as a superposition of low order basis flow patterns, each of which affects mode frequency splittings and shifts through advection and Coriolis forces.