Results are presented from an experimental study of the molecular mixing of a dynamically passive conserved scalar quantity in an axisymmetric laminar vortex ring. The experiments are based on highly resolved laser-induced fluorescence imaging measurements of the scalar field ζ(x,t) in the diametral plane of the ring, from which the evolution of the molecular mixing rate field ∇ζ•∇ζ(x,t) can be directly examined. In particular, the structure and dynamics of the mixing process are addressed during the three characteristic stages in the ring evolution, namely, (i) the ring generation stage, (ii) the ring pinch-offstage, and (iii) the asymptotic stage of the ring. Results show a layering of the mixing process in which the diffusional cancellation term ∇(∇ζ):∇(∇ζ) plays a major role in setting the overall mixing rate achieved. The scalar field measurements are also used to extract detailed information about the underlying velocity field in the ring.
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