Phenomenology of buoyancy-driven turbulence: recent results

Mahendra K. Verma, Abhishek Kumar, Ambrish Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


In this paper, we describe the recent developments in the field of buoyancy-driven turbulence with a focus on energy spectrum and flux. Scaling and numerical arguments show that the stably-stratified turbulence with moderate stratification has kinetic energy spectrum Eu (k) ∼k-11/5and the kinetic energy flux φu (k) ∼k-4/5, which is called Bolgiano-Obukhov scaling. However, for Prandtl number near unity, the energy flux for the three-dimensional Rayleigh-Bénard convection (RBC) is approximately constant in the inertial range that results in Kolmorogorv's spectrum Eu (k) ∼k-5/3for the kinetic energy. The phenomenology of RBC should apply to other flows where the buoyancy feeds the kinetic energy, e.g. bubbly turbulence and fully-developed Rayleigh Taylor instability. This paper also covers several models that predict the Reynolds and Nusselt numbers of RBC. Recent works show that the viscous dissipation rate of RBC scales as , ∼Ra1.3where is the Rayleigh number.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)025012
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 27 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-03
Acknowledgements: We thank Stephan Fauve, Jörg Schumacher, Pankaj Mishra, Ravi Samtaney, Mani Chandra, Supriyo Paul, Anando Chatterjee, and Jayant Bhattacharjee for valuable discussions. Our numerical simulations were performed on Cray XC40 'Shaheen II' at KAUST supercomputing laboratory, Saudi Arabia. This work was supported by the research grants SERB/F/3279 from Science and Engineering Research Board, India, and PLANEX/PHY/2015239 from Indian Space Research Organisation, India.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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