Ring-bursting behavior en route to turbulence in narrow-gap Taylor-Couette flows

Sebastian Altmeyer, Younghae Do, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We investigate the Taylor-Couette system where the radius ratio is close to unity. Systematically increasing the Reynolds number, we observe a number of previously known transitions, such as one from the classical Taylor vortex flow (TVF) to wavy vortex flow (WVF) and the transition to fully developed turbulence. Prior to the onset of turbulence, we observe intermittent bursting patterns of localized turbulent patches, confirming the experimentally observed pattern of very short wavelength bursts (VSWBs). A striking finding is that, for a Reynolds number larger than that for the onset of VSWBs, a new type of intermittently bursting behavior emerges: patterns of azimuthally closed rings of various orders. We call them ring-bursting patterns, which surround the cylinder completely but remain localized and separated in the axial direction through nonturbulent wavy structures. We employ a number of quantitative measures including the cross-flow energy to characterize the ring-bursting patterns and to distinguish them from the background flow. These patterns are interesting because they do not occur in the wide-gap Taylor-Couette flow systems. The narrow-gap regime is less studied but certainly deserves further attention to gain deeper insights into complex flow dynamics in fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053018
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 24 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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