An experimental investigation on Lagrangian correlations of small-scale turbulence at low Reynolds number

Michele Guala*, Alexander Liberzon, Arkady Tsinober, Wolfgang Kinzelbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lagrangian auto- and cross-correlation functions of the rate of strain s2, enstrophy w2, their respective production terms - sij sjk ski and ωiωjsij, and material derivatives, Dss/Dt and Dw2/Dt are estimated using experimental results obtained through three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry (three-dimensional-PTV) in homogeneous turbulence at Reλ = 50. The autocorrelation functions are used to estimate the Lagrangian time scales of different quantities, while the cross-correlation functions are used to clarify some aspects of the interaction mechanisms between vorticity ω and the rate of strain tensor sij, that are responsible for the statistically stationary, in the Eulerian sense, levels of enstrophy and rate of strain in homogeneous turbulent flow. Results show that at the Reynolds number of the experiment these quantities exhibit different time scales, varying from the relatively long time scale of ω2 to the relatively shorter time scales of s2 and ωi ωjsij and -sijsjk ski. Cross-correlation functions suggest that the dynamics of enstrophy and strain, in this flow, is driven by a set of different-time-scale processes that depend on the local magnitudes of s2 and ω2. In particular, there are indications that, in a statistical sense, (i) strain production anticipates enstrophy production in low-strain-low-enstrophy regions (ii) strain production and enstrophy production display high correlation in high-strain-high-enstrophy regions, (iii) vorticity dampening in high-enstrophy regions is associated with weak correlations between -sijsjkski and s2 and between -sijsjkski and Ds2/Dt, in addition to a marked anti-correlation between ωiωjsij and Ds2/Dt. Vorticity dampening in high-enstrophy regions is thus related to the decay of s2 and its production term, -sijsjkski.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-427
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2007


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