Turbulence and Coherent Structures [back]
Turbulence remains one of the last unsolved problems of classical physics. Although the equations of motion are now known for about two hundred years, a precise understanding, and consequently, a theoretical description of this phenomenon are still lacking. However, turbulent fields turn out not to be purely random. At the same time, they exhibit both a stunning degree of spatio-temporal complexity and coherence.
Each of these vortex filaments produces a spiraling velocity field (indicated by the streamlines), which advects the neighboring structures. Thereby the nonlinear nature of turbulent flows becomes apparent: Vortices create swirling flows, by which they are stretched and advected. The new distribution of vortices then produces a different velocity field and so on ...
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