Small-scale universality in the spectral structure of transitional pipe flows

Rory T. Cerbus, Chien chia Liu, Gustavo Gioia, Pinaki Chakraborty

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9 Scopus citations


Turbulent flows are not only everywhere, but every turbulent flow is the same at small scales. The extraordinary simplification engendered by this “small-scale universality”is a hallmark of turbulence theory. However, on the basis of the restrictive assumptions invoked by A. N. Kolmogorov to demonstrate this universality, it is widely thought that only idealized turbulent flows conform to this framework. Using experiments and simulations that span a wide range of Reynolds number, we show that small-scale universality governs the spectral structure of a class of flows with no apparent ties to the idealized flows: transitional pipe flows. Our results not only extend the universality of Kolmogorov’s framework beyond expectation but also establish an unexpected link between transitional pipe flows and Kolmogorovian turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaaw6256
JournalScience Advances
Issue number4
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2020


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