Passive directors in turbulence

L. Zhao, K. Gustavsson, R. Ni, S. Kramel, G. A. Voth, H. I. Andersson, B. Mehlig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In experiments and numerical simulations we measure angles between the symmetry axes of small spheroids advected in turbulence (passive directors). Since turbulent strains tend to align nearby spheroids, one might think that their relative angles are quite small. We show that this intuition fails in general because angles between the symmetry axes of nearby particles are anomalously large. We identify two mechanisms that cause this phenomenon. First, the dynamics evolves to a fractal attractor despite the fact that the fluid velocity is spatially smooth at small scales. Second, this fractal forms steps akin to scar lines observed in the director patterns for random or chaotic two-dimensional maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054602
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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