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Stirring, stretching and transport generated by a pair of like-signed vortices

  • F. RIZZI (a1) and L. CORTELEZZI (a2)


We consider a pair of like-signed, initially elliptical vortices with uniform vorticity distribution embedded in an incompressible, inviscid fluid occupying a two-dimensional, infinite domain. We characterize this finite-time, aperiodic, dynamical system in terms of its fixed points and separatrices, which divide the flow into inner core, inner recirculation, outer recirculation regions and outer flow. We numerically simulate the time evolution of the vortex pair using a contour dynamics algorithm. The rotational and co-rotational motion of the vortices perturb the separatrices, which undergo to deformations, yielding a tangle whose complexity increases as the amplitude of the perturbation increases. We analyse the dynamics of the tangle and explain the transport of fluid between different regions. We use two diagnostics to quantify stirring: stretching of the interface and the mix-norm. These two diagnostics characterize stirring in contradicting ways and present different sensitivity to the parameters considered. We find that stretching is dominated by the chaotic advection induced within the inner core and inner recirculation regions, whereas the mix-norm is dominated by the laminar transport induced within the outer recirculation regions. For pairs of vortices of small aspect ratio, stretching is piecewise linear and the mix-norm does not decrease monotonically. We show that these two effects are strongly coupled and synchronized with the rotational motion of the vortices. Since the nominal domain is unbounded, we quantify stirring on three concentric, circular domains. One domain nearly encloses the outer separatrices of the vortex pair, one is smaller and one larger than the first one. We show that the mix-norm is very sensitive to the size of the domain, while stretching is not. To quantify the sensitivity of stirring to the geometry of the initial concentration field, we consider, as an initial scalar field, two concentrations delimited by a straight-line interface of adjustable orientation. We show that the interface passing through the centroids of the vortices is the one most efficiently stretched, while the initial concentration field with an orthogonal interface is the most efficiently stirred. Finally, we investigate the effects of the angular impulse on the stirring performance of the vortex pair. Stretching is very sensitive to the angular impulse, while the mix-norm is not. We show that there is a value of the angular impulse which maximizes stretching and argue that this is due to two competing mechanisms.


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Stirring, stretching and transport generated by a pair of like-signed vortices

  • F. RIZZI (a1) and L. CORTELEZZI (a2)


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