DNS of passive scalars in turbulent pipe flow

Sergio Pirozzoli*, Joshua Romero, Massimiliano Fatica, Roberto Verzicco, Paolo Orlandi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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We study the statistics of passive scalars at, for turbulent flow within a smooth straight pipe of circular cross section up to using direct numerical simulation (DNS) of the Navier-Stokes equations. While featuring a general organisation similar to the axial velocity field, passive scalar fields show additional energy at small wavenumbers, resulting in a higher degree of mixing and in a spectral inertial range. The DNS results highlight logarithmic growth of the inner-scaled bulk and mean centreline scalar values with the friction Reynolds number, implying an estimated scalar von Kármán constant, which also nicely fits the mean scalar profiles. The DNS data are used to synthesise a modified form of the classical predictive formula of Kader & Yaglom (Intl J. Heat Mass Transfer, vol. 15 (12), 1972, pp. 2329-2351), which points to some shortcomings of the original formulation. Universality of the mean core scalar profile in defect form is recovered, with very nearly parabolic shape. Logarithmic growth of the buffer-layer peak of the scalar variance is found in the Reynolds number range under scrutiny, which well conforms with Townsend's attached-eddy hypothesis, whose validity is also supported by the spectral maps. The behaviour of the turbulent Prandtl number shows good universality in the outer wall layer, with values, as also found in previous studies, but closer to unity near the wall, where existing correlations do not reproduce the observed trends.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA45
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date21 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • pipe flow
  • pipe flow boundary layer
  • turbulence simulation


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