The collapse of an axi-symmetric, swirling vortex sheet

R. E. Caflisch, L. Xiaofan, M. J. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An axi-symmetric and swirling vortex sheet is investigated as the simplest flow in which there is non-trivial vortex stretching and as a possible setting for studying vortex cancellation and singularity formation. Rayleigh's criterion indicates linear stability of a single sheet but instability for other configurations of sheets. Due to the simplicity of vortex sheet problems, the linear modes and growth rates (or frequencies) can be explicitly expressed. Subsequent nonlinear evolution is numerically simulated using a vortex method. The numerical results for an axi-symmetric swirling sheet with a vortex line along the axis of symmetry show detachment of a vortex ring from the sheet into the outer fluid, and collapse of the sheet onto the vortex line at some points. Vortex cancellation, which in the presence of viscosity would likely lead to vortex line reconnection, seems to occur in both of these phenomena. The evolution of two co-axial, axi-symmetric, swirling vortex sheets is similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number001
Pages (from-to)843-867
Number of pages25
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


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