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Journal Articles Journal of Fluid Mechanics Year : 2010

Nonlinear dynamics of the elliptic instability


In this paper, we analyse by numerical simulations the nonlinear dynamics of the elliptic instability in the configurations of a single strained vortex and a system of two counter-rotating vortices. We show that although a weakly nonlinear regime associated with a limit cycle is possible, the nonlinear evolution far from the instability threshold is, in general, much more catastrophic for the vortex. In both configurations, we put forward some evidence of a universal nonlinear transition involving shear layer formation and vortex loop ejection, leading to a strong alteration and attenuation of the vortex, and a rapid growth of the vortex core size.

Dates and versions

insu-00548979 , version 1 (21-12-2010)



Nathanaël Schaeffer, Stéphane Le Dizès. Nonlinear dynamics of the elliptic instability. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2010, 646, pp.471-480. ⟨10.1017/S002211200999351X⟩. ⟨insu-00548979⟩
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