On the role of vortical structures for turbulent mixing using direct numerical simulation and wavelet-based coherent vorticity extraction Academic Article uri icon


  • The influence of vortical structures on the transport and mixing of passive scalars is investigated. Initial conditions are taken from a direct numerical simulation database of forced homogeneous isotropic turbulence, with passive scalar fluctuations, driven by a uniform mean gradient, are performed for Taylor microscale Reynolds numbers (Rλ) of 140 and 240, and Schmidt numbers 1/8 and 1. For each Rλ, after reaching a fully developed turbulent regime, which is statistically steady, the Coherent Vorticity Extraction is applied to the flow. It is shown that the coherent part is able to preserve the vortical structures with only less than 4% of wavelet coefficients while retaining 99.9% of energy. In contrast, the incoherent part is structureless and contains negligible energy. By taking the total, coherent and incoherent velocity fields in turn as initial conditions, new simulations were performed without forcing while the uniform mean scalar gradient is maintained. It is found that the results from simulations with total and coherent velocity fields as initial conditions are very similar. In contrast, the time integration of the incoherent flowexhibits its primarily dissipative nature. The evolutions of passive scalars at Schmidt numbers 1/8 and 1 advected by the total, coherent or incoherent velocity suggest that the vortical structures retained in the coherent part play a dominant role in turbulent transport and mixing. Indeed, the total and coherent flows give almost the same time evolution of the scalar variance, scalar flux and mean scalar dissipation, while the incoherent flow only gives rise to weak scalar diffusion. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kadoch, B., Iyer, K., Donzis, D., Schneider, K., Farge, M., & Yeung, P. K.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • January 2011