Extracting turbulent spectral transfer from under-resolved velocity fields

Rui Ni, Greg A. Voth, Nicholas T. Ouellette

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    The strong nonlinearities in turbulent flows drive the transfer of energy and other quantities between different scales of motion. In three-dimensional (3D) turbulence, this transfer organizes into the classic Richardson-Kolmogorov cascade of energy to small scales; in two-dimensional (2D) turbulence, it leads to an inverse cascade of energy to large scales and a forward cascade of enstrophy to small scales. Directly measuring this spectral transfer is difficult, particularly in experiments. Recently developed filtering techniques allow spectral fluxes to be measured locally, but have been assumed to require finely resolved velocity fields that are typically not available in 3D experiments. Here we show, using experimental data in 2D and the results of a 3D simulation, that poorly resolved velocity fields can still be used to extract information about spectral transfer processes. Our results suggest new useful ways of analyzing data from turbulence experiments with limited spatial resolution.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number105107
    JournalPhysics of Fluids
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Oct 2014

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Computational Mechanics
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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