Librational forcing of a rapidly rotating fluid-filled cube

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14 Scopus citations


The flow response of a rapidly rotating fluid-filled cube to low-amplitude librational forcing is investigated numerically. Librational forcing is the harmonic modulation of the mean rotation rate. The rotating cube supports inertial waves which may be excited by libration frequencies less than twice the rotation frequency. The response is comprised of two main components: resonant excitation of the inviscid inertial eigenmodes of the cube, and internal shear layers whose orientation is governed by the inviscid dispersion relation. The internal shear layers are driven by the fluxes in the forced boundary layers on walls orthogonal to the rotation axis and originate at the edges where these walls meet the walls parallel to the rotation axis, and are hence called edge beams. The relative contributions to the response from these components is obscured if the mean rotation period is not small enough compared to the viscous dissipation time, i.e. if the Ekman number is too large. We conduct simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations with no-slip boundary conditions using parameter values corresponding to a recent set of laboratory experiments, and reproduce the experimental observations and measurements. Then, we reduce the Ekman number by one and a half orders of magnitude, allowing for a better identification and quantification of the contributions to the response from the eigenmodes and the edge beams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-494
Number of pages26
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StatePublished - May 10 2018


  • geophysical and geological flows
  • waves in rotating fluids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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