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Using multiscale norms to quantify mixing and transport

By Jean-Luc Thiffeault


Mixing is relevant to many areas of science and engineering, including the pharmaceutical and food industries, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and civil engineering. In all these situations one goal is to quantify and often then to improve the degree of homogenisation of a substance being stirred, referred to as a passive scalar or tracer. A classical measure of mixing is the variance of the concentration of the scalar, which can be related to the $L^2$ norm of the concentration field. Recently other norms have been used to quantify mixing, in particular the mix-norm as well as negative Sobolev norms. These norms have the advantage that unlike variance they decay even in the absence of diffusion, and their decay corresponds to the flow being mixing in the sense of ergodic theory. General Sobolev norms weigh scalar gradients differently, and are known as multiscale norms for mixing. We review the applications of such norms to mixing and transport, and show how they can be used to optimise the stirring and mixing of a decaying passive scalar. We then review recent work on the less-studied case of a continuously-replenished scalar field --- the source-sink problem. In that case the flows that optimally reduce the norms are associated with transport rather than mixing: they push sources onto sinks, and vice versa.Comment: 52 pages, 27 figures. PDFLaTeX with IOP style (included

Topics: Physics - Fluid Dynamics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0951-7715/25/2/R1
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