Journal article

Comoving frames and symmetry-related motions in parallel shear flows

Parallel shear flows have continuous symmetries of translation in the downstream and spanwise directions. As a consequence, flow states that differ in their spanwise or downstream location but are otherwise identical are dynamically equivalent. In the case of travelling waves, this trivial degree of freedom can be removed by going to a frame of reference that moves with the state, thereby turning the travelling wave in the laboratory frame into a fixed point in the comoving frame of reference. We here discuss a general approach, the method of comoving frames, by which the symmetry related motions can also be removed for more complicated and dynamically active states and demonstrate its application for several examples. For flow states in the asymptotic suction boundary layer (ASBL) we show that in the case of the long-period oscillatory edge state we can find local phase speeds which remove the fast oscillations and reveal the slow vortex dynamics underlying the burst phenomenon. For spanwise translating states we show that the method removes the drift but not the dynamical events that cause the big spanwise displacement. For a turbulent case we apply the method to the spanwise shifts and find slow components that are correlated over very long times. Calculations for plane Poiseuille flow show that the long correlations in the transverse motions are not specific to the ASBL. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.


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