Dissipation and enstrophy in isotropic turbulence: Resolution effects and scaling in direct numerical simulations

D. A. Donzis, P. K. Yeung, K. R. Sreenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Existing experimental and numerical data suggest that the turbulence energy dissipation and enstrophy (i.e., the square of vorticity) possess different scaling properties, while available theory suggests that there should be no differences at sufficiently high Reynolds numbers. We have performed a series of direct numerical simulations with up to 20483 grid points where advanced computational power is used to increase the Reynolds number (up to 650 on the Taylor scale) or to resolve the small scales better (down to 1/4 of a Kolmogorov scale). Our primary goal is to assess the differences and similarities between dissipation and enstrophy. Special attention is paid to the effects of small-scale resolution on the quality and reliability of the data, in view of recent theoretical work [V. Yakhot and K. R. Sreenivasan, "Anomalous scaling of structure functions and dynamic constraints on turbulence simulations," J. Stat. Phys. 121, 823 (2005)] which stipulates the resolution needed to obtain a moment of a given order.We also provide error estimates as a function of small-scale resolution. Probability density functions of dissipation and enstrophy at high Reynolds number reveal the presence of extreme events several thousands times of the mean. The extreme events in dissipation and enstrophy fields appear to scale alike, substantially overlap in space, and are nearly statistically isotropic, while fluctuations of moderate amplitudes, at least for the present Reynolds numbers, show persistent differences. Conditional sampling shows that intense dissipation is likely to be accompanied by similarly intense enstrophy, but intense enstrophy is not always accompanied by intense dissipation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045108
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
EventSymposium of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics on Recent Advances in Multiphase Flows: Numerical and Experimental, IUTAM - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: Jun 11 2007Jun 14 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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