Low-dimensional models of a temporally evolving free shear layer

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We develop low-dimensional models for the evolution of a free shear layer in a periodic domain. The goal is to obtain models simple enough to be analysed using standard tools from dynamical systems theory, yet including enough of the physics to model nonlinear saturation and energy transfer between modes (e.g. pairing). In the present paper, two-dimensional direct numerical simulations of a spatially periodic, temporally developing shear layer are performed. Low-dimensional models for the dynamics are obtained using a modified version of proper orthogonal decomposition (POD)/Galerkin projection, in which the basis functions can scale in space as the shear layer spreads. Equations are obtained for the rate of change of the shear-layer thickness. A model with two complex modes can describe certain single-wavenumber features of the system, such as vortex roll-up, nonlinear saturation, and viscous damping. A model with four complex modes can describe interactions between two wavenumbers (vortex pairing) as well. At least two POD modes are required for each wavenumber in space to sufficiently describe the dynamics, though, for each wavenumber, more than 90% energy is captured by the first POD mode in the scaled space. The comparison of POD modes to stability eigenfunction modes seems to give a plausible explanation. We have also observed a relation between the phase difference of the first and second POD modes of the same wavenumber and the sudden turning point for shear-layer dynamics in both direct numerical simulations and model computations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-134
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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