A Lagrangian investigation of the small-scale features of turbulent entrainment through particle tracking and direct numerical simulation

Markus Holzner*, A. Liberzon, N. Nikitin, B. Lüthi, W. Kinzelbach, A. Tsinober

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report an analysis of small-scale enstrophy ω2 and rate of strain s2 dynamics in the proximity of the turbulent/ non-turbulent interface in a flow without strong mean shear. The techniques used are three-dimensional particle tracking (3D-PTV), allowing the field of velocity derivatives to be measured and followed in a Lagrangian manner, and direct numerical simulations (DNS). In both experiment and simulation the Taylor-microscale Reynolds number is Reχ = 50. The results are based on the Lagrangian viewpoint with the main focus on flow particle tracers crossing the turbulent/non-turbulent interface. This approach allowed a direct investigation of the key physical processes underlying the entrainment phenomenon and revealed the role of small-scale non-local, inviscid and viscous processes. We found that the entrainment mechanism is initiated by self-amplification of s2 through the combined effect of strain production and pressure - strain interaction. This process is followed by a sharp change of ω2 induced mostly by production due to viscous effects. The influence of inviscid production is initially small but gradually increasing, whereas viscous production changes abruptly towards the destruction of τ2. Finally, shortly after the crossing of the turbulent/non-turbulent interface, production and dissipation of both enstrophy and strain reach a balance. The characteristic time scale of the described processes is the Kolmogorov time scale, τη. Locally, the characteristic velocity of the fluid relative to the turbulent/ non-turbulent interface is the Kolmogorov velocity, uη.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume598
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2008

Funding

FundersFunder number
Russian Foundation for Basic Research05-01-00607
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich0-20151-03

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