Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics

Nature of the energy transfer process in compressible turbulence

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Using a two-point closure theory, the eddy-damped-quasinormal-Markovian approximation, we have investigated the energy transfer process and triadic interactions of compressible turbulence. In order to analyze the compressible mode directly, the Helmholtz decomposition is used. The following issues were addressed: (1) What is the mechanism of energy exchange between the solenoidal and compressible modes, and (2) is there an energy cascade in the compressible energy transfer process? It is concluded that the compressible energy is transferred locally from the solenoidal part to the compressible part. It is also found that there is an energy cascade of the compressible mode for high turbulent Mach number. Since we assume that the compressibility is weak, the magnitude of the compressible (radiative or cascade) transfer is much smaller than that of the solenoidal cascade. These results are further confirmed by studying the triadic energy transfer function, the most fundamental building block of the energy transfer. © 1999 The American Physical Society.