This project awarded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) is to study the dynamics of multi-phase plumes in rotating systems.

Plumes of mixtures of oil, water and gas can occur if there is break in a pipeline on the sed bed as occurred in the Deep Water Horizon spill in 2010. Depending on the stratification in the ocean interior, dilute suspensions of the oil and water mixture can intrude at mid-depths. Predicting the lateral spread of the neutrally buoyant mixture is crucial to predicting the fate of the oil. We will deploy a combination of laboratory experiments and very high resolution numerical simulations to address this challenge. We propose to study the transport and dispersion of oil in the ocean interior in two crucial regions: the near-source region where the plume is dominated by source conditions, and intermediate depths where the intrusions form.

Using our laboratory facilities, including high-precision rotating turntables, we can provide detailed experimental measurements of the physics of a multiphase oil plume. Using state-of-the-art diagnostics, such as 3D PIV, we will obtain quantitative data on the flow and phase distributions. Our team will also use high resolution direct numerical simulations. to address the following questions:

-Can the bulk properties of the multi-phase plume be simulated as the release of a miscible buoyant fluid?

-How does the neutral settling height of the plume depend on the properties of the plume and the ambient stratification?

-Does the plume tend to settle at density interfaces in the ocean interior, and if so, how is its spread influenced by the local turbulence and shear at the interfaces?



Principal Investigator

Paul Linden- DAMTP

Lead Co- Investigators

Stuart Dalziel– DAMTP
Julien Landel– Maths, Manchester
Peter Haynes– DAMTP
John Taylor– DAMTP


Post-doctoral Researchers

Daria Frank– DAMTP
Scott Bachman- DAMTP