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Journal of Fluid Mechanics



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The physical mechanisms underlying the dynamics of the dissipation of passive scalar fluctuations with a uniform mean gradient in stationary isotropic turbulence are studied using data from direct numerical simulations (DNS), at grid resolutions up to 5123. The ensemble-averaged Taylor-scale Reynolds number is up to about 240 and the Schmidt number is from ⅛ to 1. Special attention is given to statistics conditioned upon the energy dissipation rate because of their important role in the Lagrangian spectral relaxation (LSR) model of turbulent mixing. In general, the dominant physical processes are those of nonlinear amplification by strain rate fluctuations, and destruction by molecular diffusivity. Scalar dissipation tends to form elongated structures in space, with only a limited overlap with zones of intense energy dissipation. Scalar gradient fluctuations are preferentially aligned with the direction of most compressive strain rate, especially in regions of high energy dissipation. Both the nature of this alignment and the timescale of the resulting scalar gradient amplification appear to be nearly universal in regard to Reynolds and Schmidt numbers. Most of the terms appearing in the budget equation for conditional scalar dissipation show neutral behaviour at low energy dissipation but increased magnitudes at high energy dissipation. Although homogeneity requires that transport terms have a zero unconditional average, conditional molecular transport is found to be significant, especially at lower Reynolds or Schmidt numbers within the simulation data range. The physical insights obtained from DNS are used for a priori testing and development of the LSR model. In particular, based on the DNS data, improved functional forms are introduced for several model coefficients which were previously taken as constants. Similar improvements including new closure schemes for specific terms are also achieved for the modelling of conditional scalar variance.


This article is from Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 433 (2001): 29-60, doi: 10.1017/S0022112000003207. Posted with permission.

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Cambridge University Press



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