Stationarity of linearly forced turbulence in finite domains

E. Gravanis, E. Akylas

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A simple scheme of forcing turbulence away from decay was introduced by Lundgren some time ago, the "linear forcing," which amounts to a force term that is linear in the velocity field with a constant coefficient. The evolution of linearly forced turbulence toward a stationary final state, as indicated by direct numerical simulations (DNS), is examined from a theoretical point of view based on symmetry arguments. In order to follow closely the DNS, the flow is assumed to live in a cubic domain with periodic boundary conditions. The simplicity of the linear forcing scheme allows one to rewrite the problem as one of decaying turbulence with a decreasing viscosity. Its late-time behavior can then be studied by scaling symmetry considerations. The evolution of the system in the description of "decaying" turbulence can be understood as the gradual symmetry breaking of a larger approximate symmetry to a smaller symmetry that is exact at late times. The latter symmetry implies a stationary state: In the original description all correlators are constant in time, while, in the "decaying" turbulence description, that state possesses constant Reynolds number and integral length scale. The finiteness of the domain is intimately related to the evolution of the system to a stationary state at late times: In linear forcing there is no other large scale than the domain size, therefore, it is the only scale available to set the magnitude of the necessarily constant integral length scale in the stationary state. A high degree of local isotropy is implied by the late-time exact symmetry, the symmetries of the domain itself, and the solenoidal nature of the velocity field. The fluctuations observed in the DNS for all quantities in the stationary state can be associated with deviations from isotropy that is necessarily broken at the large scale by the finiteness of the domain. Indeed, to strengthen this conclusion somewhat, self-preserving isotropic turbulence models are used to study evolution from a direct dynamical point of view. Simultaneously, the naturalness of the Taylor microscale as a self-similarity scale in this system is emphasized. In this context the stationary state emerges as a stable fixed point. We also note that self-preservation seems to be the reason behind a noted similarity of the third-order structure function between the linearly forced and freely decaying turbulence, where, again, the finiteness of the domain plays a significant role.

Original languageEnglish
Article number046312
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2011


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