Optimizing energy growth as a tool for finding exact coherent structures

D. Olvera , R. R. Kerswell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    We discuss how searching for finite-amplitude disturbances of a given energy that maximize their subsequent energy growth after a certain later time T can be used to probe the phase space around a reference state and ultimately to find other nearby solutions. The procedure relies on the fact that of all the initial disturbances on a constant-energy hypersphere, the optimization procedure will naturally select the one that lies closest to the stable manifold of a nearby solution in phase space if T is large enough. Then, when in its subsequent evolution the optimal disturbance transiently approaches the new solution, a flow state at this point can be used as an initial guess to converge the solution to machine precision. We illustrate this approach in plane Couette flow by rediscovering the spanwise-localized "snake" solutions of Schneider et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 104501 (2010)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.104.104501], probing phase space at very low Reynolds numbers (less than 127.7) where the constant-shear solution is believed to be the global attractor and examining how the edge between laminar and turbulent flow evolves when stable stratification eliminates the turbulence. We also show that the steady snake solution smoothly delocalizes as unstable stratification is gradually turned on until it connects (via an intermediary global three-dimensional solution) to two-dimensional Rayleigh-Bénard roll solutions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number083902
    JournalPhysical Review Fluids
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
    • Computational Mechanics
    • Modelling and Simulation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Optimizing energy growth as a tool for finding exact coherent structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this