Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Kelvin waves and the singular modes of the Lamb–Oseen vortex

a1 IMFT, Allée du Professeur Camille Soula, 31400 Toulouse, France
a2 ONERA, Fundamental and Experimental Aerodynamics department, 8 rue des Vertugadins, 92190 Meudon, France

Article author query
fabre d   [Google Scholar] 
sipp d   [Google Scholar] 
jacquin l   [Google Scholar] 


Columnar vortices are known to support a family of waves initially discovered by Lord Kelvin (1880) in the case of the Rankine vortex model. This paper presents an exhaustive cartography of the eigenmodes of a more realistic vortex model, the Lamb–Oseen vortex. Some modes are Kelvin waves related to those existing in the Rankine vortex, while some others are singular damped modes with a completely different nature. Several families are identified and are successively described. For each family, the underlying physical mechanism is explained, and the effect of viscosity is detailed. In the axisymmetric case (with azimuthal wavenumber $m\,{=}\,0$), all modes are Kelvin waves and weakly affected by viscosity. For helical modes ($m\,{=}\,1$), four families are identified. The first family, denoted D, corresponds to a particular wave called the displacement wave. The modes of the second family, denoted C, are cograde waves, except in the long-wave range where they become centre modes and are strongly affected by viscosity. The modes of the third family, denoted V, are retrograde, singular modes which are always strongly damped and do not exist in the inviscid limit. The modes of the last family, denoted L, are regular, counter-rotating waves for short wavelengths, but they become singular damped modes for long wavelengths. In an intermediate range of wavelengths between these two limits, they display a particular structure, with both a wave-like profile within the vortex core and a spiral structure at its periphery. This kind of mode is called a critical layer wave, and its significance is explained from both a physical and a mathematical point of view. Double-helix modes ($m\,{=}\,2$) can similarly be classified into the C, V and L families. One additional mode, called F, plays a particular role. For short wavelenghs, this mode corresponds to a helical flattening wave, and has a clear physical significance. However, for long wavelenghts, this mode completely changes its structure, and becomes a critical layer wave. Modes with larger azimuthal wavenumbers $m$ are all found to be substantially damped.

(Published Online March 9 2006)
(Received September 20 2004)
(Revised September 7 2005)