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Title: Investigation of the transfer and dissipation of energy in isotropic turbulence
Author: Yoffe, Samuel Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 4785
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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Numerical simulation is becoming increasingly used to support theoretical effort into understanding the turbulence problem. We develop theoretical ideas related to the transfer and dissipation of energy, which clarify long-standing issues with the energy balance in isotropic turbulence. These ideas are supported by results from large scale numerical simulations. Due to the large number of degrees of freedom required to capture all the interacting scales of motion, the increase in computational power available has only recently allowed flows of interest to be realised. A parallel pseudo-spectral code for the direct numerical simulation (DNS) of isotropic turbulence has been developed. Some discussion is given on the challenges and choices involved. The DNS code has been extensively benchmarked by reproducing well established results from literature. The DNS code has been used to conduct a series of runs for freely-decaying turbulence. Decay was performed from a Gaussian random field as well as an evolved velocity field obtained from forced simulation. Since the initial condition does not describe developed turbulence, we are required to determine when the field can be considered to be evolved and measurements are characteristic of decaying turbulence. We explore the use of power-law decay of the total energy and compare with the use of dynamic quantities such as the peak dissipation rate, maximum transport power and velocity derivative skewness. We then show how this choice of evolved time affects the measurement of statistics. In doing so, it is found that the Taylor dissipation surrogate, u^3 / L, is a better surrogate for the maximum inertial flux than dissipation. Stationary turbulence has also been investigated, where we ensure that the energy input rate remains constant for all runs and variation is only introduced by modifying the fluid viscosity (and lattice size). We present results for Reynolds numbers up to Rλ = 335 on a 1024^3 lattice. Using different methods of vortex identification, the persistence of intermittent structure in an ensemble average is considered and shown to be reduced as the ensemble size increases. The longitudinal structure functions are computed for smaller lattices directly from an ensemble of realisations of the real-space velocity field. From these, we consider the generalised structure functions and investigate their scaling exponents using direct analysis and extended self-similarity (ESS), finding results consistent with the literature. An exploitation of the pseudo-spectral technique is used to calculate second- and third-order structure functions from the energy and transfer spectra, with a comparison presented to the real-space calculation. An alternative to ESS is discussed, with the second-order exponent found to approach 2/3. The dissipation anomaly is then considered for both forced and free-decay. Using different choices of the evolved time for a decaying simulation, we show how the behaviour of the dimensionless dissipation coefficient is affected. The Karman-Howarth equation (KHE) is studied and a derivation of a work term presented using a transformation of the Lin equation. The balance of energy represented by the KHE is then investigated using the pseudo-spectral method mentioned above. The consequences of this new input term for the structure functions are discussed. Based on the KHE, we develop a model for the behaviour of the dimensionless dissipation coefficient that predicts Cɛ= Cɛ(∞)+CL/RL. DNS data is used to fit the model. We find Cɛ(∞) = 0.47 and CL = 19.1 for forced turbulence, with excellent agreement to the data. Theoretical methods based on the renormalization group and statistical closures are still being developed to study turbulence. The dynamic RG procedure used by Forster, Nelson and Stephen (FNS) is considered in some detail and a disagreement in the literature over the method and results is resolved here. An additional constraint on the loop momentum is shown to cause a correction to the viscosity increment such that all methods of evaluation lead to the original result found by FNS. The application of statistical closure and renormalized perturbation theory is discussed and a new two-time model probability density functional presented. This has been shown to be self-consistent to second order and to reproduce the two-time covariance equation of the local energy transfer (LET) theory. Future direction of this work is discussed.
Supervisor: McComb, David; Berera, Arjun Sponsor: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: turbulence ; DNS ; renormalization group ; structure functions ; spectral methods ; dissipation ; statistical field theory ; renormalized perturbation theory ; numerical simulation