Analysis of chaotic mixing in two model systems

Khakhar, D. V. ; Rising, H. ; Ottino, J. M. (1986) Analysis of chaotic mixing in two model systems Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 172 . pp. 419-451. ISSN 0022-1120

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We study the chaotic mixing in two periodic model flows, the 'tendril-whorl' flow and the 'Aref-blinking-vortex' flow, with the objective of supplying evidence for the primary mechanisms responsible for mixing in two-dimensional deterministic flows. The analysis is based on tools of dynamical systems theory but it is clear that the mixing problem generates several questions of its own: low periodic points and horseshoes dominate the picture, since we want to achieve mixing quickly; Poincare sections, popular in dynamical systems analyses, might give misleading information with regard to dispersion at short times. Our analysis shows that both flows are able to stretch and fold material lines well below the lengthscale of the flows themselves. The inner workings of the two systems are revealed by studying the local and global bifurcations. Computations for the blinking-vortex system indicate the existence of an optimum period at which the average efficiency is maximized, whereas the intensity of segregation - a classical parameter in mixing studies - decays rapidly to an asymptotic value in the globally chaotic region. Even though our flows are not turbulent the results might have some implications for pointing to the limits of similar studies in actual turbulent flows (e.g. line stretching).

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