Similarities between characteristics of convective turbulence in confined and extended domains

Ambrish Pandey, Dmitry Krasnov, Jörg Schumacher, Ravi Samtaney, Katepalli R. Sreenivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To understand turbulent convection at very high Rayleigh numbers typical of natural phenomena, computational studies in slender cells are an option if the needed resources have to be optimized within available limits. However, the accompanying horizontal confinement affects some properties of the flow. Here, we explore the characteristics of turbulent fluctuations in the velocity and temperature fields in a cylindrical convection cell of aspect ratio 0.1 by varying the Prandtl number Pr between 0.1 and 200 at a fixed Rayleigh number Ra=3×1010, and find that the fluctuations weaken with increasing Pr, quantitatively as in aspect ratio 25. The probability density function (PDF) of temperature fluctuations in the bulk region of the slender cell remains mostly Gaussian, but increasing departures occur as Pr increases beyond unity. We assess the intermittency of the velocity field by computing the PDFs of velocity derivatives and of the kinetic energy dissipation rate, and find increasing intermittency as Pr decreases. In the bulk region of convection, a common result applicable to the slender cell, large aspect ratio cells, as well as in 2D convection, is that the turbulent Prandtl number decreases as Pr−1/3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133537
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
StatePublished - Dec 15 2022


  • Aspect ratio dependence
  • Convection at variable Prandtl numbers
  • High Rayleigh number convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


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