Statistics of Advective Stretching in Three-dimensional Incompressible Flows
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Statistics of Advective Stretching in Three-dimensional Incompressible Flows

  • Author(s): Subramanian, Natarajan
  • Kellogg, Louise H.
  • Turcotte, Donald L.
  • et al.
Abstract

We present a method to quantify kinematic stretching in incompressible, unsteady, isoviscous, three-dimensional flows. We extend the method of Kellogg and Turcotte (J. Geophys. Res. 95:421–432, 1990) to compute the axial stretching/thinning experienced by infinitesimal ellipsoidal strain markers in arbitrary three-dimensional incompressible flows and discuss the differences between our method and the computation of Finite Time Lyapunov Exponent (FTLE). We use the cellular flow model developed in Solomon and Mezic (Nature 425:376–380, 2003) to study the statistics of stretching in a three-dimensional unsteady cellular flow. We find that the probability density function of the logarithm of normalised cumulative stretching (log S) for a globally chaotic flow, with spatially heterogeneous stretching behavior, is not Gaussian and that the coefficient of variation of the Gaussian distribution does not decrease with time as $t^{-\frac{1}{2}}$ . However, it is observed that stretching becomes exponential log S∼t and the probability density function of log S becomes Gaussian when the time dependence of the flow and its three-dimensionality are increased to make the stretching behaviour of the flow more spatially uniform. We term these behaviors weak and strong chaotic mixing respectively. We find that for strongly chaotic mixing, the coefficient of variation of the Gaussian distribution decreases with time as $t^{-\frac{1}{2}}$ . This behavior is consistent with a random multiplicative stretching process.

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