On the role of vortex stretching in energy optimal growth of three-dimensional perturbations on plane parallel shear flows

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Abstract

The three-dimensional linearized optimal energy growth mechanism, in plane parallel shear flows, is re-examined in terms of the role of vortex stretching and the interplay between the spanwise vorticity and the planar divergent components. For high Reynolds numbers the structure of the optimal perturbations in Couette, Poiseuille and mixing-layer shear profiles is robust and resembles localized plane waves in regions where the background shear is large. The waves are tilted with the shear when the spanwise vorticity and the planar divergence fields are in (out of) phase when the background shear is positive (negative). A minimal model is derived to explain how this configuration enables simultaneous growth of the two fields, and how this mutual amplification affects the optimal energy growth. This perspective provides an understanding of the three-dimensional growth solely from the two-dimensional dynamics on the shear plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume707
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • low-dimensional model
  • shear waves
  • vortex instability

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