Molecular-Level Simulations of Turbulence and Its Decay

M. A. Gallis, N. P. Bitter, T. P. Koehler, J. R. Torczynski, S. J. Plimpton, G. Papadakis, Phys Rev Letters, 118, 064501 (2017).

We provide the first demonstration that molecular-level methods based on gas kinetic theory and molecular chaos can simulate turbulence and its decay. The direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method, a molecular-level technique for simulating gas flows that resolves phenomena from molecular to hydrodynamic (continuum) length scales, is applied to simulate the Taylor-Green vortex flow. The DSMC simulations reproduce the Kolmogorov −5=3 law and agree well with the turbulent kinetic energy and energy dissipation rate obtained from direct numerical simulation of the Navier-Stokes equations using a spectral method. This agreement provides strong evidence that molecular-level methods for gases can be used to investigate turbulent flows quantitatively.

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