A Caltech Library Service

Adiabatic Heating of Contracting Turbulent Fluids

Robertson, Brant and Goldreich, Peter (2012) Adiabatic Heating of Contracting Turbulent Fluids. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 750 (2). L31. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/750/2/L31.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Turbulence influences the behavior of many astrophysical systems, frequently by providing non-thermal pressure support through random bulk motions. Although turbulence is commonly studied in systems with constant volume and mean density, turbulent astrophysical gases often expand or contract under the influence of pressure or gravity. Here, we examine the behavior of turbulence in contracting volumes using idealized models of compressed gases. Employing numerical simulations and an analytical model, we identify a simple mechanism by which the turbulent motions of contracting gases "adiabatically heat," experiencing an increase in their random bulk velocities until the largest eddies in the gas circulate over a Hubble time of the contraction. Adiabatic heating provides a mechanism for sustaining turbulence in gases where no large-scale driving exists. We describe this mechanism in detail and discuss some potential applications to turbulence in astrophysical settings.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 January 7; accepted 2012 March 20; published 2012 April 19. B.E.R. is grateful for generous support from the University of Arizona and Steward Observatory. P.M.G. thanks Jungyeon Cho and Dongsu Ryu for helpful conversations. The simulations presented in this work were performed on the pangu cluster at the California Institute of Technology Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of ArizonaUNSPECIFIED
Steward ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:hydrodynamics; turbulence
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120525-132231424
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Adiabatic Heating of Contracting Turbulent Fluids Brant Robertson and Peter Goldreich 2012 ApJ 750 L31
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:31656
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:29 May 2012 18:36
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 19:57

Repository Staff Only: item control page