On the comparison of flow physics between minimal and extended flow units in turbulent channels

Ethan A. Davis, Siamak Mirfendereski, Jae Sung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Direct numerical simulations were performed to study the effects of the domain size of a minimal flow unit (MFU) and its inherent periodic boundary conditions on flow physics of a turbulent channel flow in a range of 200 ≤ Reτ ≤ 1000. This was accomplished by comparing turbulent statistics with those computed in sub-domains (SD) of extended domain simulations. The dimensions of the MFU and SD were matched, and SD dynamics were set to minimize artificial periodicities. Streamwise and spanwise dimensions of healthy MFUs were found to increase linearly with Reynolds number. It was also found that both MFU and SD statistics and dynamics were healthy and in good agreement. This suggests that healthy MFU dynamics represent extended-domain dynamics well up to Reτ = 1000, indicating a nearly negligible effect of periodic conditions on MFUs. However, there was a small deviation within the buffer layer for the MFU at Reτ = 200, which manifested in an increased mean velocity and a tail in the Q2 quadrant of the u-v plane. Thus, it should be noted that when considering an MFU domain size, stricter criteria may need to be put in place to ensure healthy turbulent dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number192
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Direct numerical simulation
  • Extended flow units
  • Flow physics
  • Minimal flow units
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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