450 research outputs found

    Direct and noisy transitions in a model shear flow

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    The transition to turbulence in flows where the laminar profile is linearly stable requires perturbations of finite amplitude. "Optimal" perturbations are distinguished as extrema of certain functionals, and different functionals give different optima. We here discuss the phase space structure of a 2-d simplified model of the transition to turbulence and discuss optimal perturbations with respect to three criteria: energy of the initial condition, energy dissipation of the initial condition and amplitude of noise in a stochastic transition. We find that the states that trigger the transition are different in the three cases, but show the same scaling with Reynolds number

    Sensitive dependence on initial conditions in transition to turbulence in pipe flow

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    The experiments by Darbyshire and Mullin (J. Fluid Mech. 289, 83 (1995)) on the transition to turbulence in pipe flow show that there is no sharp border between initial conditions that trigger turbulence and those that do not. We here relate this behaviour to the possibility that the transition to turbulence is connected with the formation of a chaotic saddle in the phase space of the system. We quantify a sensitive dependence on initial conditions and find in a statistical analysis that in the transition region the distribution of turbulent lifetimes follows an exponential law. The characteristic mean lifetime of the distribution increases rapidly with Reynolds number and becomes inaccessibly large for Reynolds numbers exceeding about 2200. Suitable experiments to further probe this concept are proposed.Comment: 10 pages, 12 figures; submitted to J. Fluid Mec