Phase transition in time-reversible Navier-Stokes equations

Abstract : We present a comprehensive study of the statistical features of a three-dimensional (3D) time-reversible truncated Navier-Stokes (RNS) system, wherein the standard viscosity ν is replaced by a fluctuating thermostat that dynamically compensates for fluctuations in the total energy. We analyze the statistical features of the RNS steady states in terms of a non-negative dimensionless control parameter Rr, which quantifies the balance between the fluctuations of kinetic energy at the forcing length scale ℓf and the total energy E0. For small Rr, the RNS equations are found to produce “warm” stationary statistics, e.g., characterized by the partial thermalization of the small scales. For large Rr, the stationary solutions have features akin to standard hydrodynamic ones: they have compact energy support in k space and are essentially insensitive to the truncation scale kmax. The transition between the two statistical regimes is observed to be smooth but rather sharp. Using insights from a diffusion model of turbulence (Leith model), we argue that the transition is in fact akin to a continuous second-order phase transition, where Rr indeed behaves as a thermodynamic control parameter, e.g., a temperature. A relevant order parameter can be suitably defined in terms of a (normalized) enstrophy, while the symmetry-breaking parameter h is identified as (one over) the truncation scale kmax. We find that the signatures of the phase transition close to the critical point R★r can essentially be deduced from a heuristic mean-field Landau free energy. This point of view allows us to reinterpret the relevant asymptotics in which the dynamical ensemble equivalence conjectured by Gallavotti [Phys. Lett. A 223, 91 (1996)] could hold true. We argue that Gallavotti's limit is precisely the joint limit Rr>→R★r and h>→0, with the overset symbol “>” indicating that those limits are approached from above. The limit therefore relates to the statistical features at the critical point. In this regime, our numerics indicate that the low-order statistics of the 3D RNS are indeed qualitatively similar to those observed in direct numerical simulations of the standard Navier-Stokes equations with viscosity chosen so as to match the average value of the reversible thermostat. This result suggests that Gallavotti's equivalence conjecture could indeed be of relevance to model 3D turbulent statistics, and provides a clear guideline for further numerical investigations involving higher resolutions.
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Contributor : Sergey Nazarenko <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 2:41:15 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 1:22:30 AM

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Vishwanath Shukla, Bérengère Dubrulle, Sergey Nazarenko, Giorgio Krstulovic, Simon Thalabard. Phase transition in time-reversible Navier-Stokes equations. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2019, 100 (4), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.100.043104⟩. ⟨hal-02384657⟩

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