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EOMF Vol5 (S-Y)

EOMF Vol5 (S-Y)

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Stability of Flows
S Friedlander
, University of Illinois-Chicago,Chicago, IL, USA
ª
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Introduction
This article gives a brief discussion of a topic withan enormous literature, namely the stability/instabil-ity of fluid flows. Following the seminal observa-tions and experiments of Reynolds in 1883, the issueof stability of a fluid flow became one of the centralproblems in fluid dynamics: stable flows are robustunder inevitable disturbances in the environment,while unstable flows may break up, sometimesrapidly. These possibilities were demonstrated in arelatively simple experiment where flow in a pipe isexamined at increasing speeds. As a dimensionlessparameter (now known as the Reynolds number)increases, the flow completely changes its naturefrom a stable flow to a completely different regimethat is irregular in space and time. Reynolds calledthis ‘‘turbulence’’ and observed that the transitionfrom the simple flow to the chaotic flow was causedby the phenomenon of instability.Even though the topic has been the subject of intense study over more than a century, Reynoldsexperiment is still not fully explained by currenttheory. Although there is no rigorous proof of stability of the simple flow (known as Poiseuilleflow in a circular pipe), analytical and numericalinvestigations of the equations suggest theoreticalstability for all Reynolds numbers. However, experi-ments show instability for sufficiently largeReynolds numbers. A plausible explanation for thisphenomenon is the instability of such flows withrespect to small but finite disturbances combinedwith their stability to infinitesimal disturbances.The issue of fluid stability, in contexts muchmore complex than the fundamental experiment of Reynolds, arises in a multitude of branches of science, including engineeering, physics, astrophy-sics, oceanography, and meteorology. It is farbeyond the scope of this short article to eventouch upon most of the extensive literature. In thebibliography we list just a few of the substantivebooks where classical results can be found(Chandrasekhar 1961,Drazin and Reid 1981, Gershuni and Zhukovitiskii 1976,Joseph 1976, Lin 1967,Swinney and Gollub 1985).Recent extensive bibliographies on mathematical aspectsof fluid instability are given in several articles in the
Handbook of Mathematical Fluid Dynamics
(Friedlander and Serre 2003) and the compendiumof articles on hydrodynamics and nonlinearinstabilities inGodreche and Maneville (1998).
The Equations of Motion
The Navier–Stokes equations for the motion of anincompressible, constant density, viscous fluid are
q
þð
q
Á
q
¼À
1
r
P
þ
 
r
2
q
½
1a
div
q
¼
0
½
1b
where
q
(
 x
,
) denotes the velocity vector,
P
(
 x
,
) thepressure, and the constants
and
 
are the densityand kinematic viscosity, respectively. This system isconsidered in three (or sometimes two) spatialdimensions with a specified initial velocity field
q
ð
 x
;
0
Þ¼
q
0
ð
 x
Þ ½
1c
and physically appropriate boundary conditions: forexample, zero velocity on a rigid boundary, orperiodicity conditions for flow on a torus. Thisnonlinear system of partial differential equations(PDEs) has proved to be remarkably challenging,and in three dimensions the fundamental issues of existence and uniqueness of physically reasonablesolutions are still open problems.It is often useful to consider the Navier–Stokesequations in nondimensional form by scaling thevelocity and length by some intrinsic scale in theproblem, for example, in Reynolds’ experiment bythe mean speed
and the diameter of the pipe
.This leads to the nondimensional equations
q
þð
q
Á
q
¼Àr
P
þ
1
R
r
2
q
½
2a
div
q
¼
0
½
2b
where the Reynolds number
R
is
R
¼
Ud 
= 
½
3
In many situations, the size of 
R
has a crucialinfluence on stability. Roughly speaking, when
R
issmall the flow is very sluggish and likely to bestable. However, the effects of viscosity are actuallyvery complicated and not only is viscosity able tosmooth and stabilize fluid motions, sometimes itactually also destroys and destabilizes flows.The Euler equations, which predate the Navier–Stokes equations by many decades, neglect theeffects of viscosity and are obtained from[1a]bysetting the viscosity parameter
 
to zero. Since this
 
removes the highest-derivative term from the equa-tions, the nature of the Euler equations is funda-mentally different from that of the Navier–Stokesequations and the limit of vanishing viscosity (orinfinite Reynolds number) is a very singular limit.Since all real fluids are at least very weakly viscous,it could be argued that only the the Navier–Stokesequations are physically relevant. However, manyimportant physical phenomena, such as turbulence,involve flows at very high Reynolds numbers (10
4
orhigher). Hence, an understanding of turbulence islikely to involve the asymptotics of the NavierStokes equations as
R
1
. The first step towardsthe construction of such asymptotics is the study of inviscid fluids governed by the Euler equations:
q
þð
q
Á
q
¼Àr
P
½
4a
div
q
¼
0
½
4b
Stability issues for the Euler equations are in manyrespects distinct from those of the Navier–Stokesequations and in this article we will briefly touchupon stability results for both systems.
Comments on Some ‘‘Classical’’Instabilities
To illustrate the complexity of the structure of instabilities that can arise in the Navier–Stokesequations, we mention one classical example,namely the centrifugal instabilities called TaylorCouette instabilities. Consider a fluid between twoconcentric cylinders rotating with different angularvelocities. If the inner cylinder rotates sufficientlyfaster than the outer one, the centrifugal force isstronger on inside particles than outside particlesand a disturbance which exchanges the radialposition of particles is enhanced, that is, theconfiguration is unstable. As the angular velocityof the inner cylinder is increased above a certaincritical rate, the instability is manifested in a seriesof small toroidal (Taylor) vortices that fill the spacebetween the cylinders. There follows a hierarchy of successive instabilities: azimuthal traveling waves,twisting regimes, and quasiperiodic regimes untilchaotic solutions appear. Such a sequence of bifurcations is a scenario for a transition toturbulence postulated by Ruelle–Takens. Detailsconcerning bifurcation theory and fluid behaviorcan be found in the book of Chossat and Iooss(1994).We note that phenomena of successive bifurca-tions connected with loss of stability, such asregimes of Taylor–Couette instabilities, occur atmoderately large Reynolds numbers. Fully devel-oped turbulence is a phenomenon associated withvery high Reynolds numbers. These are parameterregimes basically inaccessible in current numericalinvestigations of the Navier–Stokes equations andturbulent models. The Euler equations lie at thelimit as
R
1
. It is an interesting observation thatresults at the limit of infinite Reynolds number aresometimes also applicable and consistent withexperiments for flows with only moderate Reynoldsnumber.There is a huge diversity of forces that couplewith fluid motion to produce instability. We willmerely mention a few of these which an interestedreader could pursue in consultation with texts listedin the ‘‘Further reading’’ section and referenc es therein.1. The so-called Be´nard problem of convectiveinstability concerns a horizontal layer of fluidbetween parallel plates and subject to a tempera-ture gradient. The governing equations are theNavier–Stokes equation for a nonconstant den-sity fluid and the heat equation. In this problem,the critical parameter governing the onset of instability is called the Rayleigh number. Thepatterns that can develop as a result of instabilityare strongly influenced by the boundary condi-tions in the horizontal coordinates. With latticetype conditions, bifurcating solutions includerolls, rectangles, and hexagons. Convection rollsare themselves subject to secondary instabilitiesthat may break the translation symmetry anddeform the rolls into meandering shapes. Furtherrefinements of convective instabilities includedoubly diffusive convection, where the densitydepends on concentration as well as temperature.Competition between stabilizing diffusivity anddestabilizing diffusivity can lead to the so-called‘‘salt-finger’’ instabilities.2. Of considerable interest in astrophysics andplasma physics are the instabilities that occur inelectrically conducting fluilds. Here the fluidequations are coupled with Maxwell’s equations.Much work has been done on the topic of magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) stability, whichwas developed to address various importantphysical issues such as thermonuclear fusion,stellar and planetary interiors, and dynamotheory. For example, dynamo theory addressesthe issue of how a magnetic field can begenerated and sustained by the motion of anelectrically conducting fluid. In the simplestscenario, the fluid motion is assumed to be agiven divergence-free vector field and the study of 
2
Stability of Flows
 
the instabilities that may occur in the evolutionof the magnetic field is called the kinematicdynamo problem. This gives rise to interestingproblems in dynamical systems and actually isclosely analogous to the topic of vorticitygeneration in the three-dimensional (3D) fluidequations in the absence of MHD effects.In the next section we discuss certain mathema-tical results that have been rigorously proved forparticular problems in the stability of fluid flows.We restrict our attention to the ‘‘basic’’ equations,that is,[2a] and [2b], [4a] and [4b], observing thateven in rather simple configurations there are stillmore open problems than precise rigorous results.
The Navier–Stokes Equations:Mathematical Definitions ofStability/Instability
Instability occurs when there is some disturbance of the internal or external forces acting on the fluidand, loosely speaking, the question of stability orinstability considers whether there exist disturbancesthat grow with time. There are many mathematicaldefinitions of stability of a solution to a PDE. Mostof these definitions are closely related but they maynot be equivalent. Because of the distinctly differentnature of the Navier–Stokes equations for a viscousfluid and the Euler equations for an inviscid fluid,we will adopt somewhat different precise definitionsof stability for the two systems of PDEs. Bothdefinitions are related to the concept known asLyapunov stability. A steady state described by avelocity field
0
(
 x
) is called Lyapunov stable if every state
q
(
 x
,
) ‘‘close’’ to
0
(
 x
) at
=
0 staysclose for all
>
0. In mathematical terms, ‘‘close-ness’’ is defined by considering metrics in a normedspace
X
. While in finite-dimensional systems thechoice of norm is not significant because all Banachnorms are equivalent, in infinite-dimensional sys-tems, such as a fluid configuration, this choice iscrucial. The point was emphasized byYudovich(1989)and it is a version of the definition of stability given in this book that we will adopt inconnection with the parabolic Navier–Stokesequations.
Definitions for a General NonlinearEvolution Equation
Consider an evolution equation for
u
(
 x
,
) whosephase space is a Banach space
X
:
u
¼
L
u
þ
ð
u
;
u
Þ
We assume that if the initial value
u
(
 x
,0)
2
X
isgiven, the future evolution
u
(
 x
,
),
>
0, of theequation is uniquely defined (at least for sufficientlysmall initial data). Without loss of generality, wecan assume that zero is a steady state.We define a version of Lyapunov (nonlinear)stability and its converse instability.
Definition 1
Let (
X
,
Z
) be a pair of Banach spaces.The zero steady state is called (
X
,
Z
) nonlinearlystable if, no matter how small
>
0, there exists
>
0 so that
u
(
 x
,0)
2
X
and
k
u
ð
 x
;
0
Þk
Z
<  
imply the following two assertions:(i) there exists a global in time solution such that
u
(
 x
,
)
2
(([0,
1
);
X
);(ii)
k
u
(
 x
,
)
k
Z
< 
for a.e.
2
[0,
1
).The zero state is called nonlinearly unstable if eitherof the above assertions is violated. We note thatunder this strong definition of stability, loss of existence of a solution is a particular case of instability. The concept of existence that we willinvoke in considering the Navier–Stokes equations isthe existence of ‘‘mild’’ solutions introduced byKatoand Fujita (1962). Local-in-time existence of mildsolutions is known in
X
=
L
q
for
q
!
n
, where
n
denotes the space dimension. (
L
q
denotes the usualLebesque space).We now state two theorems for the Navier–Stokesequations [2a] and [2b]. The theorems are valid in anyspace dimension
n
and in finite or infinite domains.Of course, the most physically relevant cases are
n
=
3 or2. Both theorems relate properties of the spectrum of the linearized Navier–Stokes equations to stability orinstability of the full nonlinear system. Let
0
(
 x
),
P
0
(
 x
) be a steady state flow:
ð
0
Á
0
¼Àr
P
0
þ
1
R
r
2
0
þ
1
R
 F 
½
5a
rÁ
0
¼
0
½
5b
where
0
2
1
vanishes on the boundary of thedomain
D
and
is a suitable external force. Wewrite[2a] and [2b]in perturbation form as
q
ð
 x
;
Þ¼
0
ð
 x
Þþ
u
ð
 x
;
Þ ½
6
where
u
¼
L
NS
u
þ
ð
u
;
u
Þ ½
7a
rÁ
u
¼
0
½
7b
Stability of Flows
3

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