Paul Manneville. Turbulent patterns in wall-bounded flows: a Turing instability?

Natural Sciences / Physics / Fluid Dynamics

Submitted on: Sep 17, 2012, 18:59:52

Description: In their way to/from turbulence, plane wall-bounded flows display an interesting transitional regime where laminar and turbulent oblique bands alternate, the origin of which is still mysterious. In line with Barkley's recent work about the pipe flow transition involving reaction-diffusion concepts, we consider plane Couette flow in the same perspective and transform Waleffe's classical four-variable model of self-sustaining process into a reaction-diffusion model. We show that, upon fulfillment of a condition on the relative diffusivities of its variables, the featureless turbulent regime becomes unstable against patterning as the result of a Turing instability. A reduced two-variable model helps us to delineate the appropriate region of parameter space. An intrinsic status is therefore given to the pattern's wavelength for the first time. Virtues and limitations of the model are discussed, calling for a microscopic support of the phenomenological approach.

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