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Models of Turbulent Pipe Flow


Bourguignon, Jean-Loup (2013) Models of Turbulent Pipe Flow. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/BPEZ-VM28.


The physics of turbulent pipe flow was investigated via the use of two models based on simplified versions of the Navier-Stokes equations. The first model was a streamwise-constant projection of these equations, and was used to study the change in mean flow that occurs during transition to turbulence. The second model was based on the analysis of the turbulent pipe flow resolvent, and provided a radial basis for the modal decomposition of turbulent pipe flow. The two models were tested numerically and validated against experimental and numerical data.

Analysis of the streamwise-constant model showed that both non-normal and nonlinear effects are required to capture the blunting of the velocity profile, which occurs during pipe flow transition. The model generated flow fields characterized by the presence of high- and low-speed streaks, whose distribution over the cross-section of the pipe was remarkably similar to the one observed in the velocity field near the trailing edge of the puff structures present in pipe flow transition.

A modal decomposition of turbulent pipe flow, in the three spatial directions and in time, was performed, and made possible by the significant reduction in data requirements achieved via the use of compressive sampling and model-based radial basis functions. The application and efficiency of compressive sampling in wall-bounded turbulence was demonstrated.

Approximately sparse representations of turbulent pipe flow by propagating waves with model-based radial basis functions, were derived. The basis functions, obtained by singular value decomposition of the resolvent, captured the wall-normal coherence of the flow; and provided a link between the propagating waves and the governing equations, allowing for the identification of the dominant mechanims sustaining the waves, as a function of their streamwise wavenumber.

Analysis of the resolvent showed that the long streamwise waves are amplified mainly via non-normality effects, and are also constrained to be tall in the wall-normal direction, which decreases the influence of viscous dissipation. The short streamwise waves were shown to be localized near the critical-layer (defined as the wall-normal location where the convection velocity of the wave equals the local mean velocity), and thus exhibit amplification with a large contribution from criticality. The work in this thesis allows the reconciliation of the well-known results concerning optimal disturbance amplification due to non-normal effects with recent resolvent analyses, which highlighted the importance of criticality effects.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Turbulence, Modeling, Compressive Sampling, Modal Decomposition, 2D/3C
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:Rolf D. Buhler Memorial Award in Aeronautics, 2008.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Meiron, Daniel I. (chair)
  • Gharib, Morteza
  • Doyle, John Comstock
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
Defense Date:5 November 2012
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchFA9550-09-1-0701
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:11272012-130849053
Persistent URL:
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Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7287
Deposited By: Jean-Loup Bourguignon
Deposited On:05 Dec 2012 18:18
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 18:23

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