The transition to turbulence in shock-driven mixing: Effects of Mach number and initial conditions

Mohammad Mohaghar, John Carter, Gokul Pathikonda, Devesh Ranjan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The effects of incident shock strength on the mixing transition in the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability (RMI) are experimentally investigated using simultaneous density-velocity measurements. This effort uses a shock with an incident Mach number of 1.9, in concert with previous work at Mach 1.55 (Mohaghar et al.J. Fluid Mech., vol. 831, 2017 pp. 779-825) where each case is followed by a reshock wave. Single- and multi-mode interfaces are used to quantify the effect of initial conditions on the evolution of the RMI. The interface between light and heavy gases (, Atwood number,; amplitude to wavelength ratio of 0.088) is created in an inclined shock tube at relative to the horizontal, resulting in a predominantly single-mode perturbation. To investigate the effects of initial perturbations on the mixing transition, a multi-mode inclined interface is also created via shear and buoyancy superposed on the dominant inclined perturbation. The evolution of mixing is investigated via the density fields by computing mixed mass and mixed-mass thickness, along with mixing width, mixedness and the density self-correlation (DSC). It is shown that the amount of mixing is dependent on both initial conditions and incident shock Mach number. Evolution of the density self-correlation is discussed and the relative importance of different DSC terms is shown through fields and spanwise-averaged profiles. The localized distribution of vorticity and the development of roll-up features in the flow are studied through the evolution of interface wrinkling and length of the interface edge, which indicate that the vorticity concentration shows a strong dependence on the Mach number. The contribution of different terms in the Favre-averaged Reynolds stress is shown, and while the mean density-velocity fluctuation correlation term, is dominant, a high dependency on the initial condition and reshock is observed for the turbulent mass-flux term. Mixing transition is analysed through two criteria: the Reynolds number (Dimotakis, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 409, 2000, pp. 69-98) for mixing transition and Zhou (Phys. Plasmas, vol. 14 (8), 2007, 082701 for minimum state) and the time-dependent length scales (Robey et al.Phys. Plasmas, vol. 10 (3), 2003, 614622; Zhou et al.Phys. Rev. E, vol. 67 (5), 2003, 056305). The Reynolds number threshold is surpassed in all cases after reshock. In addition, the Reynolds number is around the threshold range for the multi-mode, high Mach number case () before reshock. However, the time-dependent length-scale threshold is surpassed by all cases only at the latest time after reshock, while all cases at early times after reshock and the high Mach number case at the latest time before reshock fall around the threshold. The scaling analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy spectra after reshock at the latest time, at which mixing transition analysis suggests that an inertial range has formed, indicates power scaling of for the low Mach number case and for the higher Mach number case. This could possibly be related to the high anisotropy observed in this flow resulting from strong, large-scale streamwise fluctuations produced by large-scale shear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-635
Number of pages41
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StateAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • shock waves
  • transition to turbulence
  • turbulent mixing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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