In the past two decades, our understanding of the transition to turbulence in shear flows with linearly stable laminar solutions has greatly improved. Regarding the susceptibility of the laminar flow, two concepts have been particularly useful: the edge states and the minimal seeds. In this nonlinear picture of the transition, the basin boundary of turbulence is set by the edge state's stable manifold and this manifold comes closest in energy to the laminar equilibrium at the minimal seed. We begin this paper by presenting numerical experiments in which three-dimensional perturbations are too energetic to trigger turbulence in pipe flow but they do lead to turbulence when their amplitude is reduced. We show that this seemingly counterintuitive observation is in fact consistent with the fully nonlinear description of the transition mediated by the edge state. In order to understand the physical mechanisms behind this process, we measure the turbulent kinetic energy production and dissipation rates as a function of the radial coordinate. Our main observation is that the transition to turbulence relies on the energy amplification away from the wall, as opposed to the turbulence itself, whose energy is predominantly produced near the wall. This observation is further supported by the similar analyses on the minimal seeds and the edge states. Furthermore, we show that the time evolution of production-over-dissipation curves provides a clear distinction between the different initial amplification stages of the transition to turbulence from the minimal seed.
Physical Review Fluids
Budanur NB, Marensi E, Willis AP, Hof B. Upper edge of chaos and the energetics of transition in pipe flow. Physical Review Fluids. 2020;5(2):023903. doi:10.1103/physrevfluids.5.023903
Budanur, N. B., Marensi, E., Willis, A. P., & Hof, B. (2020). Upper edge of chaos and the energetics of transition in pipe flow. Physical Review Fluids, 5(2), 023903. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevfluids.5.023903
Budanur, Nazmi B, Elena Marensi, Ashley P. Willis, and Björn Hof. “Upper Edge of Chaos and the Energetics of Transition in Pipe Flow.” Physical Review Fluids 5, no. 2 (2020): 023903. https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevfluids.5.023903.
N. B. Budanur, E. Marensi, A. P. Willis, and B. Hof, “Upper edge of chaos and the energetics of transition in pipe flow,” Physical Review Fluids, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 023903, 2020.
Budanur NB, Marensi E, Willis AP, Hof B. 2020. Upper edge of chaos and the energetics of transition in pipe flow. Physical Review Fluids. 5(2), 023903.
Budanur, Nazmi B., et al. “Upper Edge of Chaos and the Energetics of Transition in Pipe Flow.” Physical Review Fluids, vol. 5, no. 2, American Physical Society, 2020, p. 023903, doi:10.1103/physrevfluids.5.023903.