Multiple states in turbulent large-aspect ratio thermal convection: What determines the number of convection rolls?

Qi Wang, Roberto Verzicco, Detlef Lohse*, Olga Shishkina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Wall-bounded turbulent flows can take different statistically stationary turbulent states, with different transport properties, even for the very same values of the control parameters. What state the system takes depends on the initial conditions. Here we analyze the multiple states in large-aspect ratio (Γ) two-dimensional turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard flow with no-slip plates and horizontally periodic boundary conditions as model system. We determine the number n of convection rolls, their mean aspect ratios Γr=Γ/n, and the corresponding transport properties of the flow (i.e., the Nusselt number Nu), as function of the control parameters Rayleigh (Ra) and Prandtl number. The effective scaling exponent β in Nu∼Raβ is found to depend on the realized state and thus Γr, with a larger value for the smaller Γr. By making use of a generalized Friedrichs inequality, we show that the elliptical shape of the rolls and viscous damping determine the Γr window for the realizable turbulent states. The theoretical results are in excellent agreement with our numerical finding 2/3≤Γr≤4/3, where the lower threshold is approached for the larger Ra. Finally, we show that the theoretical approach to frame Γr also works for free-slip boundary conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number074501
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume125
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • physics.flu-dyn

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