Scaling in fluid turbulence: A geometric theory

Peter Constantin, Itamar Procaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We develop a theory that is nonperturbative and free of uncontrolled approximations to understand scaling behavior in turbulence. The main tool is a connection between the dimension of the graphs of the hydrodynamic fields and the scaling exponents of their structure functions. The connection is developed in some generality for both scalar and vector fields, in terms of the geometric invariants of the gradient tensor. We show that fluid mechanics is consistent with fractal graphs for both the scalar and the vector fields, and explain how this leads to the scaling behavior of the structure functions. We derive scaling relations between various scaling exponents, and show that in the case of "strong scaling" (which is defined below) the Kolmogorov solution is unique. Our theory allows additional solutions in which a weaker version of scaling results in a spectrum of scaling exponents. In particular, we identify the dimensionless (but Reynolds-number-dependent) contributions which can lead to deviations from the Kolmogorov exponents (which are derived using dimensional analysis). Results for the dimensions of fractal level sets in hydrodynamic turbulence which are measured in experiments and simulations follow immediately from this theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3307-3315
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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