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Title: A Wiener chaos based approach to stability analysis of stochastic shear flows
Author: Cattell, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7661 1959
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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As the aviation industry expands, consuming oil reserves, generating carbon dioxide gas and adding to environmental concerns, there is an increasing need for drag reduction technology. The ability to maintain a laminar flow promises significant reductions in drag, with economic and environmental benefits. Whilst development of flow control technology has gained interest, few studies investigate the impacts that uncertainty, in flow properties, can have on flow stability. Inclusion of uncertainty, inherent in all physical systems, facilitates a more realistic analysis, and is therefore central to this research. To this end, we study the stability of stochastic shear flows, and adopt a framework based upon the Wiener Chaos expansion for efficient numerical computations. We explore the stability of stochastic Poiseuille, Couette and Blasius boundary layer type base flows, presenting stochastic results for both the modal and non modal problem, contrasting with the deterministic case and identifying the responsible flow characteristics. From a numerical perspective we show that the Wiener Chaos expansion offers a highly efficient framework for the study of relatively low dimensional stochastic flow problems, whilst Monte Carlo methods remain superior in higher dimensions. Further, we demonstrate that a Gaussian auto-covariance provides a suitable model for the stochasticity present in typical wind tunnel tests, at least in the case of a Blasius boundary layer. From a physical perspective we demonstrate that it is neither the number of inflection points in a defect, nor the input variance attributed to a defect, that influences the variance in stability characteristics for Poiseuille flow, but the shape/symmetry of the defect. Conversely, we show the symmetry of defects to be less important in the case of the Blasius boundary layer, where we find that defects which increase curvature in the vicinity of the critical point generally reduce stability. In addition, we show that defects which enhance gradients in the outer regions of a boundary layer can excite centre modes with the potential to significantly impact neutral curves. Such effects can lead to the development of an additional lobe at lower wave-numbers, can be related to jet flows, and can significantly reduce the critical Reynolds number.
Supervisor: Peake, Nigel Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Flow Stability ; Wiener Chaos Expansion ; Applied Mathematics ; Fluid Dynamics