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Published August 2021 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Resolvent analysis of stratification effects on wall-bounded shear flows


The interaction between shear-driven turbulence and stratification is a key process in a wide array of geophysical flows with spatiotemporal scales that span many orders of magnitude. A quick numerical model prediction based on external parameters of stratified boundary layers could greatly benefit the understanding of the interaction between velocity and scalar flux at varying scales. For these reasons, here we use the resolvent framework [McKeon and Sharma, J. Fluid Mech., 658 (2010)] to investigate the effects of an active scalar on incompressible wall-bounded turbulence. We obtain the state of the flow system by applying the linear resolvent operator to the nonlinear terms in the governing Navier-Stokes equations with the Boussinesq approximation. This extends the formulation to include the scalar advection equation with the scalar component acting in the wall-normal direction in the momentum equations [Dawson, Saxton-Fox and McKeon, AIAA Fluid Dyn. Conf. 4042 (2018)]. We use the mean velocity profiles from a direct numerical simulation (DNS) of a stably stratified turbulent channel flow at varying friction Richardson number Ri_τ. The results obtained from the resolvent analysis are compared to the premultiplied energy spectra, autocorrelation coefficient, and the energy budget terms obtained from the DNS. It is shown that despite using only a very limited range of representative scales, the resolvent model is able to reproduce the balance of energy budget terms as well as provide meaningful insight into coherent structures occurring in the flow. Computation of the leading resolvent models, despite considering a limited range of scales, reproduces the balance of energy budget terms, provides meaningful predictions of coherent structures in the flow, and is more cost-effective than performing full-scale simulations. This quick model can provide a further understanding of stratified flows with only information about the mean profile and prior knowledge of energetic scales of motion in the neutrally buoyant boundary layers.

Additional Information

© 2021 American Physical Society. Received 15 January 2021; accepted 12 July 2021; published 11 August 2021. The support of a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship administered under the US Office of Naval Research, Grant No. N00014-17-1-3022, is gratefully acknowledged. Additionally, the authors would like to thank Dr. Angeliki Laskari for insightful discussions.

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Submitted - 2101.11771.pdf

Published - PhysRevFluids.6.084804.pdf


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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023