Accelerated diffusion in the centre of a vortex

K. Bajer, Andrew Bassom, A.D. Gilbert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    The spiral wind-up and diffusive decay of a passive scalar in circular streamlines is considered. An accelerated diffusion mechanism operates to destroy scalar fluctuations on a time scale of order P-1/3 times the turn-over time, where P is a Peclet number. The mechanism relies on differential rotation, that is, a non-zero gradient of angular velocity. However if the flow is smooth, the gradient of angular velocity necessarily vanishes at the centre of the streamlines, and the time scale becomes greater. The behaviour at the centre is analysed and it is found that scalar there is only destroyed on a time scale of order P-1/2. Related results are obtained for magnetic field and for weak vorticity, a scalar coupled to the stream function of the flow. Some exact solutions are presented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)395-411
    JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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