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Lock-in and quasiperiodicity in a forced hydrodynamically self-excited jet

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 June 2013

Larry K. B. Li
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK
Matthew P. Juniper
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK
E-mail address:


The ability of hydrodynamically self-excited jets to lock into strong external forcing is well known. Their dynamics before lock-in and the specific bifurcations through which they lock in, however, are less well known. In this experimental study, we acoustically force a low-density jet around its natural global frequency. We examine its response leading up to lock-in and compare this to that of a forced van der Pol oscillator. We find that, when forced at increasing amplitudes, the jet undergoes a sequence of two nonlinear transitions: (i) from periodicity to ${ \mathbb{T} }^{2} $ quasiperiodicity via a torus-birth bifurcation; and then (ii) from ${ \mathbb{T} }^{2} $ quasiperiodicity to 1:1 lock-in via either a saddle-node bifurcation with frequency pulling, if the forcing and natural frequencies are close together, or a torus-death bifurcation without frequency pulling, but with a gradual suppression of the natural mode, if the two frequencies are far apart. We also find that the jet locks in most readily when forced close to its natural frequency, but that the details contain two asymmetries: the jet (i) locks in more readily and (ii) oscillates more strongly when it is forced below its natural frequency than when it is forced above it. Except for the second asymmetry, all of these transitions, bifurcations and dynamics are accurately reproduced by the forced van der Pol oscillator. This shows that this complex (infinite-dimensional) forced self-excited jet can be modelled reasonably well as a simple (three-dimensional) forced self-excited oscillator. This result adds to the growing evidence that open self-excited flows behave essentially like low-dimensional nonlinear dynamical systems. It also strengthens the universality of such flows, raising the possibility that more of them, including some industrially relevant flames, can be similarly modelled.

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