Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Correlation between small-scale velocity and scalar fluctuations in a turbulent channel flow


a1 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 182-8522 Tokyo, Japan

a2 Discipline of Mechanical Engineering, University of Newcastle, 2308 NSW, Australia

a3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo University of Science, 278-8510 Chiba, Japan


Direct numerical simulations of a turbulent channel flow with passive scalar transport are used to examine the relationship between small-scale velocity and scalar fields. The Reynolds number based on the friction velocity and the channel half-width is equal to 180, 395 and 640, and the molecular Prandtl number is 0.71. The focus is on the interrelationship between the components of the vorticity vector and those of the scalar derivative vector. Near the wall, there is close similarity between different components of the two vectors due to the almost perfect correspondence between the momentum and thermal streaks. With increasing distance from the wall, the magnitudes of the correlations become smaller but remain non-negligible everywhere in the channel owing to the presence of internal shear and scalar layers in the inner region and the backs of the large-scale motions in the outer region. The topology of the scalar dissipation rate, which is important for small-scale scalar mixing, is shown to be associated with the organized structures. The most preferential orientation of the scalar dissipation rate is the direction of the mean strain rate near the wall and that of the fluctuating compressive strain rate in the outer region. The latter region has many characteristics in common with several turbulent flows; viz. the dominant structures are sheetlike in form and better correlated with the energy dissipation rate than the enstrophy.

(Received May 07 2008)

(Revised December 11 2008)


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