Predicting structural and statistical features of wall turbulence
The majority of practical flows, particularly those flows in applications of importance to transport, distribution and climate, are turbulent and as a result experience complex three-dimensional motion with increased drag compared with the smoother, laminar condition. In this study, we describe the development of a simple model that predicts important structural and scaling features of wall turbulence. We show that a simple linear superposition of modes derived from a forcing-response analysis of the Navier-Stokes equations can be used to reconcile certain key statistical and structural descriptions of wall turbulence. The computationally cheap approach explains and predicts vortical structures and velocity statistics of turbulent flows that have previously been identified only in experiments or by direct numerical simulation. In particular, we propose an economical explanation for the meandering appearance of very large scale motions observed in turbulent pipe flow, and likewise demonstrate that hairpin vortices are predicted by the model. This new capability has clear implications for modeling, simulation and control of a ubiquitous class of wall flows.
The authors acknowledge financial support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research grants FA9550-08-1-0049 and FA9550-09-1-0701, Program Manager John Schmisseur (B.J.M. & I.J.) and an Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship (A.S.).
Submitted - 1012.0426.pdf