Axisymmetric gravity currents of power-law fluids over a rigid horizontal surface

Roiy Sayag, M. Grae Worster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We analyse axisymmetric gravity currents of power-law fluids theoretically and experimentally. We use aqueous suspensions of Xanthan gum in laboratory experiments of constant-volume and constant-flux release to resolve the rheological parameters of the fluid, which we then compare with measurements made using a strain-controlled rheometer. We find that the constant-volume release of highly shear-thinning fluids involves an early-time evolution dominated by inertia, and non-convex free surfaces that make the application of similarity solutions of the late-time viscously dominated evolution inefficient at resolving material properties. In contrast, constant-flux release of the same fluids can be viscously dominated and consistent with the self-similar solution from early in the evolution, which makes it a more useful method for measuring rheological parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R51-R511
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • complex fluids
  • geophysical and geological flows
  • non-Newtonian flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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