Description of turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection by PDF methods exhibits limit cycle behavior

Johannes Lülff, Michael Wilczek, Rudolf Friedrich, Detlef Lohse

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Rayleigh-Bénard convection, i.e. the convection of a fluid enclosed between two plates that is driven by a temperature gradient, is the idealized setup of a phenomenon ubiquitous in nature and technical applications. Of special interest for this system are the statistics of turbulent temperature fluctuations, which we are investigating for a fluid enclosed in a cylindrical vessel. To this end, we derive an exact evolution equation for the probability density function (PDF) of temperature from first principles. Appearing unclosed terms are expressed as conditional averages of velocities and heat diffusion, which are estimated from direct numerical simulations. Our theoretical framework allows to connect the statistical quantities to the dynamics of Rayleigh-Bénard convection, giving deeper insights into the temperature statistics and transport mechanisms in different regions of the fluid volume, i.e. in the boundary layers, the bulk and the sidewall regions.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Event14th European Turbulence Conference, ETC 2013 - Lyon, France
Duration: 1 Sep 20134 Sep 2013
Conference number: 14


Conference14th European Turbulence Conference, ETC 2013
Abbreviated titleETC


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