Vol. 11, No. 1, 2016

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Identifying turbulent structures through topological segmentation

Peer-Timo Bremer, Andrea Gruber, Janine C. Bennett, Attila Gyulassy, Hemanth Kolla, Jacqueline H. Chen and Ray W. Grout

Vol. 11 (2016), No. 1, 37–53

A new method of extracting vortical structures from a turbulent flow is proposed whereby topological segmentation of an indicator function scalar field is used to identify the regions of influence of the individual vortices. This addresses a long-standing challenge in vector field topological analysis: indicator functions commonly used produce a scalar field based on the local velocity vector field; reconstructing regions of influence for a particular structure requires selecting a threshold to define vortex extent. In practice, the same threshold is rarely meaningful throughout a given flow. By also considering the topology of the indicator field function, the characteristics of vortex strength and extent can be separated and the ambiguity in the choice of the threshold reduced. The proposed approach is able to identify several types of vortices observed in a jet in cross-flow configuration simultaneously where no single threshold value for a selection of common indicator functions appears able to identify all of these vortex types.

segmentation, vortex identification, topology, turbulence
Mathematical Subject Classification 2010
Primary: 76-02, 65D18, 68U05
Secondary: 76F40, 76F65, 68U10
Received: 2 October 2014
Revised: 17 September 2015
Accepted: 18 October 2015
Published: 13 November 2015
Peer-Timo Bremer
Center for Applied Scientific Computing
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
7000 East Avenue, L-422
Livermore, CA 94551
United States
Andrea Gruber
SINTEF Energy Research
K. Heiesvei 1A
7465 Trondheim
Janine C. Bennett
Sandia National Laboratories
7011 East Ave
Livermore, CA 94551
United States
Attila Gyulassy
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, CA 84112
United States
Hemanth Kolla
Sandia National Laboratories
7011 East Ave
Livermore, CA 94551
United States
Jacqueline H. Chen
Reacting Flows
Sandia National Laboratories
7011 East Ave
Livermore, CA 94551
United States
Ray W. Grout
Computational Science Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401
United States