The structure and behavior of a streamwise rib vortex in a direct numerical simulation of a time-developing three-dimensional incompressible plane mixing layer is examined. Where the rib vortex is being stretched, the vorticity vector is primarily directed in the vortex axial direction and the radial and azimuthal velocity distribution is similar to that of a Burgers vortex. In the region where the vortex stretching is negative, there is a change in the local topology of the vortex. The axial flow is decelerated and a negative azimuthal component of vorticity is induced. These features are characteristic of vortex breakdown. The temporal evolution of the rib vortex is similar to the evolution of an axisymmetric vortex in the early stages of vortex breakdown. The effect of vortex breakdown on other parts of the flow is, however, not as significant as the interaction between the rib vortex and other vortical structures.
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