Point vortex dynamics within a background vorticity patch

D. Z. Jin, D. H.E. Dubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent experiments and simulations have observed that the interaction of strong vortices with a low vorticity background can strongly affect the dynamics of both vortices and background. This paper considers an idealized model of this interaction. The background is treated as a patch of uniform vorticity with a nearly circular shape. The strong vortices are treated as point vortices, and their total circulation λ is assumed to be small compared to that of the background. It is found that Kelvin waves on the boundary of the background patch can be driven to large amplitude by the strong vortices, eventually resulting in wave breaking and filamentation. A multiscale analysis finds that the wave-breaking time scales as λ-1 ln λ-1, in agreement with contour dynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-691
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2001

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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