Short-time behavior of advecting-diffusing scalar fields in Stokes flows

M. Giona, P.D. Anderson, F. Garofalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the short-term decay of advecting-diffusing scalar fields in Stokes flows. The analysis is developed in two main subparts. In the first part, we present an analytic approach for a class of simple flow systems expressed mathematically by the one-dimensional advection-diffusion equation w(y)¿¿¿=¿¿y2¿+iV(y)¿-¿'¿, where ¿ is either time or axial coordinate and iV(y) an imaginary potential. This class of systems encompasses both open- and closed-flow models and corresponds to the dynamics of a single Fourier mode in parallel flows. We derive an analytic expression for the short-time (short-length) decay of ¿, and show that this decay is characterized by a universal behavior that depends solely on the singularity of the ratio of the transverse-to-axial velocity components Veff(y)=V(y)/w(y), corresponding to the effective potential in the imaginary potential formulation. If Veff(y) is smooth, then ||¿||L2(¿)=exp(-¿'¿-b¿3), where b>0 is a constant. Conversely, if the effective potential is singular, then ||¿||L2(¿)=1-a¿¿ with a>0. The exponent ¿ attains the value 5/3 at the very early stages of the process, while for intermediate stages its value is 3/5. By summing over all of the Fourier modes, a stretched exponential decay is obtained in the presence of nonimpulsive initial conditions, while impulsive conditions give rise to an early-stage power-law behavior. In the second part, we consider generic, chaotic, and nonchaotic autonomous Stokes flows, providing a kinematic interpretation of the results found in the first part. The kinematic approach grounded on the warped-time transformation complements the analytical theory developed in the first part.
Original languageEnglish
Article number063011
Pages (from-to)063011-1/15
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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