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We quantify the temporal development of the mixing field of a starting jet by measuring the mixture fraction and the scalar dissipation rate and their statistics in an isothermal, impulsively started, gaseous jet. The scalar measurements are performed using planar laser induced fluorescence and, with appropriate processing of the resulting images, allow scalar dissipation rate measurements within 20%. The probability density functions of the mixture fraction, measured within a region of the order of 3 times the Batchelor length scale of the flow, are bimodal and skewed around a well-mixed radial location, which depends on the downstream distance and the time after the start of injection. The instantaneous distributions of the scalar dissipation rate reveal regions of high mixing at the jet periphery and at the developing vortex ring. The normalised probability density function (pdf) of the scalar dissipation rate at various flow positions and times after the start of injection has the same characteristic shape but differs from the usually suggested lognormal distribution at both low and high dissipation values; the same, also, holds true for the pdf conditioned on different values of the mixture fraction. The mean of the scalar dissipation rate conditional on mixture fraction shows a variation across the mixture fraction range, which differs between flow locations and times after the start of injection; however, at later times and for larger downstream distances the conditional mean between flow locations has similar distributions. Implications of the measurements for the auto-ignition of gaseous jets are examined and demonstrate that near the nozzle exit or at earlier times conditions are un-favourable for auto-ignition.


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