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  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 610
  • September 2008, pp. 261-284

On the Lamb vector divergence in Navier–Stokes flows

  • CURTIS W. HAMMAN (a1), JOSEPH C. KLEWICKI (a2) and ROBERT M. KIRBY (a1) (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 September 2008

The mathematical and physical properties of the Lamb vector divergence are explored. Toward this aim, the instantaneous and mean dynamics of the Lamb vector divergence are examined in several analytic and turbulent flow examples relative to its capacity to identify and characterize spatially localized motions having a distinct capacity to effect a time rate of change of momentum. In this context, the transport equation for the Lamb vector divergence is developed and shown to accurately describe the dynamical mechanisms by which adjacent high- and low-momentum fluid parcels interact to effect a time rate of change of momentum and generate forces such as drag. From this, a transport-equation-based framework is developed that captures the self-sustaining spatiotemporal interactions between coherent motions, e.g. ejections and sweeps in turbulent wall flows, as predicted by the binary source–sink distribution of the Lamb vector divergence. New insight into coherent motion development and evolution is found through the analysis of the Lamb vector divergence.

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