Marginal turbulent state of viscoelastic fluids: A polymer drag reduction perspective Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The laminar-turbulent (LT) transition of dilute polymer solutions is of great interest not only for the complex transition dynamics itself, but also for its potential link to the maximum drag reduction (MDR) phenomenon. We present an in-depth investigation of the edge state (ES), an asymptotic solution on the LT boundary, in viscoelastic channel flow. For given Re and simulation domain size, mean flow statistics of the ES do not vary with the introduction of polymers, proving that there is a region of turbulent states not susceptible to polymer drag reduction effects. The dynamics of the ES features low-frequency fluctuations and in the longer domains we studied it is nearly periodic with regular bursts of turbulent activities separated by extended quiescent periods. Its flow field is dominated by elongated vortices and streaks, with very weak extensional and rotational flow motions. Polymer stretching is almost exclusively contributed by the mean shear and polymer-turbulence interaction is minimal. Flow structures and the kinematics of the ES match hibernating turbulence, an MDR-like phase intermittently occurring in turbulent dynamics. Its observation now seems to result from recurrent visits to certain parts of the ES. The ES offers explanations for the existence and universality of MDR, the quantitative magnitude of which, however, still remains unsolved.

publication date

  • April 2016