Temporal dynamics of large-scale structures for turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection in a moderate aspect-ratio cylinder

P. J. Sakievich, Y. T. Peet, R. J. Adrian

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6 Scopus citations


We investigate the spatial organization and temporal dynamics of large-scale, coherent structures in turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection via direct numerical simulation of a 6.3 aspect-ratio cylinder with Rayleigh and Prandtl numbers of and, respectively. Fourier modal decomposition is performed to investigate the structural organization of the coherent turbulent motions by analysing the length scales, time scales and the underlying dynamical processes that are ultimately responsible for the large-scale structure formation and evolution. We observe a high level of rotational symmetry in the large-scale structure in this study and that the structure is well described by the first four azimuthal Fourier modes. Two different large-scale organizations are observed during the duration of the simulation and these patterns are dominated spatially and energetically by azimuthal Fourier modes with frequencies of 2 and 3. Studies of the transition between these two large-scale patterns, radial and vertical variations in the azimuthal energy spectra, as well as the spatial and modal variations in the system's correlation time are conducted. Rotational dynamics are observed for individual Fourier modes and the global structure with strong similarities to the dynamics that have been reported for unit aspect-ratio domains in prior works. It is shown that the large-scale structures have very long correlation time scales, on the order of hundreds to thousands of free-fall time units, and that they are the primary source for a horizontal inhomogeneity within the system that can be observed during a finite, but a very long-time simulation or experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA31
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StatePublished - 2020


  • Bénard convection
  • turbulent convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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