Forecasting small-scale dynamics of fluid turbulence using deep neural networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Turbulence in fluid flows is characterized by a wide range of interacting scales. Since the scale range increases as some power of the flow Reynolds number, a faithful simulation of the entire scale range is prohibitively expensive at high Reynolds numbers. The most expensive aspect concerns the small-scale motions; thus, major emphasis is placed on understanding and modeling them, taking advantage of their putative universality. In this work, using physics-informed deep learning methods, we present a modeling framework to capture and predict the small-scale dynamics of turbulence, via the velocity gradient tensor. The model is based on obtaining functional closures for the pressure Hessian and viscous Laplacian contributions as functions of velocity gradient tensor. This task is accomplished using deep neural networks that are consistent with physical constraints and explicitly incorporate Reynolds number dependence to account for small-scale intermittency. We then utilize a massive direct numerical simulation database, spanning two orders of magnitude in the large-scale Reynolds number, for training and validation. The model learns from low to moderate Reynolds numbers and successfully predicts velocity gradient statistics at both seen and higher (unseen) Reynolds numbers. The success of our present approach demonstrates the viability of deep learning over traditional modeling approaches in capturing and predicting small-scale features of turbulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2305765120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 25 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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