Statistically steady states of forced isotropic turbulence in thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium Academic Article uri icon


  • We investigate statistically steady states of turbulent flows when molecular degrees of freedom, in particular vibration, are taken into account. Unlike laminar flows initially in thermal non-equilibrium which asymptotically relax towards thermal equilibrium, turbulent flows present persistent departures from thermal equilibrium. This is due to fluctuations in temperature and other thermodynamic variables, which are known to increase with turbulent Mach number. Analytical results are compared to direct numerical simulations at a range of Reynolds and Mach numbers as well as molecular parameters such as relaxation times. Turbulent fluctuations are also shown to disrupt the distribution of energy between translationalrotationalvibrational modes even if thermal equilibrium is attained instantaneously relative to turbulence time scales, an effect that increases with characteristic relaxation times. Because of the nonlinear relation between temperature and vibrational energy in equilibrium, the fluctuation of the latter could be strongly positively skewed with long tails in its probability density function. This effect is stronger in flows with strong temperature fluctuations and when vibrational modes are partially excited. Because of the finite-time relaxation of vibration, departures from equilibrium result in very strong transfers of energy from the translationalrotational mode to the vibrational mode. A simple spectral model can explain the stronger departures from thermal equilibrium observed at the small scales. The spectral behaviour of the instantaneous vibrational energy can be described by classical phenomenology for passive scalars.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Donzis, D. A., & Maqui, A. F.

complete list of authors

  • Donzis, Diego A||Maqui, Agustin F

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM