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Sudden Relaminarization and Lifetimes in Forced Isotropic Turbulence

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Original languageEnglish
Article number134502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2015


We demonstrate an unexpected connection between isotropic turbulence and wall-bounded shear flows. We perform direct numerical simulations of isotropic turbulence forced at large scales at moderate Reynolds numbers and observe sudden transitions from a chaotic dynamics to a spatially simple flow, analogous to the laminar state in wall bounded shear flows. We find that the survival probabilities of turbulence are exponential and the typical lifetimes increase superexponentially with the Reynolds number. Our results suggest that both isotropic turbulence and wall-bounded shear flows qualitatively share the same phase-space dynamics.

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