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Convective flow in the presence of a small obstacle: Symmetry breaking, attractors, hysteresis, and information

Bartlett, S. J. and Yung, Y. L. (2019) Convective flow in the presence of a small obstacle: Symmetry breaking, attractors, hysteresis, and information. Physical Review E, 99 (3). Art. No. 033103. ISSN 2470-0045. doi:10.1103/physreve.99.033103.

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This work explores the stability and hysteresis effects that occur when a small sink of momentum is introduced into a heat-driven, two-dimensional convective flow. As per standard fluid mechanical intuition, the system minimizes work generation and dissipation when one component of momentum is extracted. However, when the sink absorbs all incoming momentum, the system configures itself such that one of the convection plumes aligns directly with the sink. This state is the most hydrodynamically stable, but it maximizes, rather than minimizes extracted mechanical work. Furthermore, in the case of only vertical momentum extraction, there are two attractors, with different stabilities. Numerical experiments involving slow variations of the horizontal momentum extraction show a clear history dependence. This hysteresis preserves information about the system's past states, and hence represents a primitive memory. The momentum sink can also be used to manipulate the horizontal position of the flow field, with potential applications in microfluidics and laminar convection systems. This simple system exhibits the phenomena of autocatalysis (during the initial growth of the convection plumes), negative feedback (the attractors are either fully or quasistable), memory, and elementary computation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Bartlett, S. J.0000-0001-5680-476X
Yung, Y. L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2019 American Physical Society. (Received 27 June 2018; revised manuscript received 11 February 2019; published 4 March 2019) This work was supported by the Earth Life Science Institute Origins Network (EON) Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences Discovery Fund.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Earth-Life Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190304-115857803
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93437
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:04 Mar 2019 20:36
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 16:57

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