First Advisor

Raúl Cal

Date of Publication

Fall 11-23-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Materials Engineering




Volcanic plumes -- Measurement, Jets -- Fluid dynamics -- Mathematical models, Turbulence -- Mathematical models



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 62 pages)


Volcanic eruption columns inject high concentrations of ash into the atmosphere. Some of this ash is carried downwind forming ash clouds in the atmosphere that are hazardous for private and commercial aviation. Current models rely on inputs such as plume height, duration, eruption rate, and meteorological wind fields. Eruption rate is estimated from plume height using relations that depend on the rate of air entrainment into the plume, which is not well quantified. A wind tunnel experiment has been designed to investigate these models by injecting a vertical air jet into a cross-flow. The ratio of the cross-flow and jet velocities is varied to simulate a weak plume, and flow response is measured using particle image velocimetry. The plumes are characterized and flow data relative to the centerline is examined to measure the growth of weak plumes and the entrainment velocity along its trajectory. It was found that cross-flow recirculates behind the jet and entrainment occurs both up and downstream of the jet. Analysis of the generation of turbulence enhanced results by identifying the transition point to bending plume and the growth of the shear layer in a bending plume. This provides information that can be used to improve models of volcanic ash concentration changes in the atmosphere.


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