Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Inertial oscillations in a rotating fluid cylinder

A. D.  McEwan a1
a1 C.S.I.R.O. Division of Meteorological Physics, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia

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A study is described of the forced inertial oscillations appearing in an axially rotating completely filled circular cylinder with plane ends. Excitation is provided by causing the top end to rotate about an axis inclined slightly to the rotation axis. Experiments demonstrate the presence of numerous low mode resonances in a densely spaced range of ratios of net cylinder height to radius in close conformance with linear inviscid theory. Where geometry permits simple corner reflexion, characteristic surfaces are revealed which confirm in part the theoretical predictions concerning their scale and form.

Detailed measurements are given of the amplitude at one point within the cylinder for the condition in which the disturbance frequency equals the rotation frequency. Amplitude column height spectra are compared with theoretical estimates, and the evolution of amplitude for the simplest mode of resonant oscillation is studied. A non-linear theory based on the integral energy of large amplitude oscillation is derived whose broad features are in fair quantitative and qualitative agreement with these observations.

Some investigation is made of the phenomenon of resonant collapse, in which larger amplitude resonant oscillations, after persisting in an apparently laminar form, degenerate abruptly into a state of agitation and disorder from which they do not recover. It is found that the time for emergence of this collapse after the introduction of the forcing disturbance has a close correspondence with the theoretical period of one ‘evolutionary’ cycle of momentum exchange between the main motion and the secondary oscillation.

(Published Online March 29 2006)
(Received March 11 1969)