A length scale for non-local multi-scale gradient interactions in isotropic turbulence Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2023

start page

  • A40


  • A40


  • 971

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1120

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7645


  • Three-dimensional turbulent flows enhance velocity gradients via strong nonlinear interactions of the rate-of-strain tensor with the vorticity vector, and with itself. For statistically homogeneous flows, their total contributions to gradient production are related to each other by conservation of mass, and so are the total enstrophy and total dissipation. However, locally, they do not obey this relation and have different (often extreme) values, and for this reason both production mechanisms have been subject to numerous studies, often decomposed into multi-scale interactions. In general lines, their dynamics and contributions to the cascade processes and turbulent kinetic dissipation are different, which poses a difficulty for turbulence modelling. In this paper, we explore the consequence of the `Betchov┬┐ relations locally, and show that they implicitly define a length scale. This length scale is found to be approximately three times the size of the turbulent structures and their interactions. It is also found that, while the non-locality of the dissipation and enstrophy at a given scale comes mostly from larger scales that do not cancel, the non-local production of strain and vorticity comes from multi-scale interactions. An important consequence of this work is that isotropic cascade models need not distinguish between vortex stretching and strain self-amplification, but can instead consider both entities as part of a more complex transfer mechanism, provided that their detailed point value is not required and a local average of reasonable size is sufficient.


  • Aeronautics


  • isotropic turbulence; turbulence theory; turbulence modelling