The Dynamics of Transition to Turbulence in Plane Couette Flow

  • D. Viswanath
Part of the Abel Symposia book series (ABEL, volume 3)


In plane Couette flow, the incompressible fluid between two plane parallel walls is driven by the motion of those walls. The laminar solution, in which the streamwise velocity varies linearly in the wall-normal direction, is known to be linearly stable at all Reynolds numbers (Re). Yet, in both experiments and computations, turbulence is observed for Re ≳ 360.

In this article, we show that for certain threshold perturbations of the laminar flow, the flow approaches either steady or traveling wave solutions. These solutions exhibit some aspects of turbulence but are not fully turbulent even at Re = 4,000. However, these solutions are linearly unstable and flows that evolve along their unstable directions become fully turbulent. The solution approached by a threshold perturbation could depend upon the nature of the perturbation. Surprisingly, the positive eigenvalue that corresponds to one family of solutions decreases in magnitude with increasing Re, with the rate of decrease given by Re α with α ≈ −0.46.


Combustion Manifold Vorticity Compressibility 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Viswanath
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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