Continuous transition to turbulence in a planar shear flow

Dr Matt Chantry (University of Oxford)

Frank Adams 1,

Classifying the transition to turbulence in planar shear flows is a long-standing question without a definitive answer. More specifically, the question is one of continuous or discontinuous transition, whether an arbitrarily small turbulence fraction can be maintained in the long-time limit. To attack this problem, either in simulations or experiments, requires domains that are large relative to the building blocks of transition, turbulent spots and bands. The combination of large domains and long time integrations result in a computational burden too large for 3D DNS. To overcome this obstacle we study a model flow, Waleffe flow, with the same hallmarks of laminar-turbulent intermittency. Using this flow we can address the question of whether transition is discontinuous or continuous. 

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