The energy in turbulent flow can be amplified by compression, when the compression occurs on a timescale shorter than the turbulent dissipation time. This mechanism may play a part in sustaining turbulence in various astrophysical systems, including molecular clouds. The amount of turbulent amplification depends on the net effect of the compressive forcing and turbulent dissipation. By giving an argument for a bound on this dissipation, we give a lower bound for the scaling of the turbulent velocity with the compression ratio in compressed turbulence. That is, turbulence undergoing compression will be enhanced at least as much as the bound given here, subject to a set of caveats that will be outlined. Used as a validation check, this lower bound suggests that some models of compressing astrophysical turbulence are too dissipative. The technique used highlights the relationship between compressed turbulence and decaying turbulence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- ISM: kinematics and dynamics