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Published September 2011 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

A streamwise-constant model of turbulent pipe flow


A streamwise-constant model is presented to investigate the basic mechanisms responsible for the change in mean flow occuring during pipe flow transition. The model is subject to two different types of forcing: a simple forcing of the axial momentum equation via a deterministic form for the streamfunction and a stochastic forcing of the streamfunction equation. Using a single forced momentum balance equation, we show that the shape of the velocity profile is robust to changes in the forcing profile and that both linear non-normal and nonlinear effects are required to capture the change in mean flow associated with transition to turbulence. The particularly simple form of the model allows for the study of the momentum transfer directly by inspection of the equations. The distribution of the high- and low-speed streaks over the cross-section of the pipe produced by our model is remarkably similar to one observed in the velocity field near the trailing edge of the puff structures present in pipe flow transition. Under stochastic forcing, the model exhibits a quasi-periodic self-sustaining cycle characterized by the creation and subsequent decay of "streamwise-constant puffs," so-called due to the good agreement between the temporal evolution of their velocity field and the projection of the velocity field associated with three-dimensional puffs in a frame of reference moving at the bulk velocity. We establish that the flow dynamics are relatively insensitive to the regeneration mechanisms invoked to produce near-wall streamwise vortices, such that using small, unstructured background disturbances to regenerate the streamwise vortices in place of the natural feedback from the flow is sufficient to capture the formation of the high- and low-speed streaks and their segregation leading to the blunting of the velocity profile characteristic of turbulent pipe flow. We propose a "quasi self-sustaining process" to describe these mechanisms.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Institute of Physics. Received 4 June 2011; accepted 16 August 2011; published online 29 September 2011. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the AFOSR Grant No. FA 9550-09-1-0701 (program manager John Schmisseur).

Attached Files

Published - Bourguignon2011p16218Phys_Fluids.pdf

Submitted - 1101.2267.pdf


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