Limitations of the background field method applied to Rayleigh-Bénard convection

Nobili, Camilla and Otto, Felix. (2016) Limitations of the background field method applied to Rayleigh-Bénard convection. Preprints Fachbereich Mathematik, 2016 (29).

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We consider Rayleigh-Bénard convection as modeled by the Boussinesq equations, in case of infinite Prandtl number and with no-slip boundary condition. There is a broad interest in bounds of the upwards heat flux, as given by the Nusselt number $Nu$, in terms of the forcing via the imposed temperature difference, as given by the Rayleigh number in the turbulent regime $Ra \gg 1$. In several works, the background field method applied to the temperature field has been used to provide upper bounds on $Nu$ in terms of $Ra$. In these applications, the background field method comes in form of a variational problem where one optimizes a stratified temperature profile subject to a certain stability condition; the method is believed to capture marginal stability of the boundary layer. The best available upper bound via this method is $Nu \lesssim Ra^{1/3}(\ln Ra)^{1/15}$. it proceeds via the construction of a stable temperature background
profile that increases logarithmically in the bulk. In this paper, we show that the background temperature field method cannot provide a tighter upper bound in terms of the power of the logarithm. However, by another method one does obtain the tighter upper bound $Nu \lesssim Ra^{1/3}(\ln \ln Ra)^{1/3}$, so that the result of this paper implies that the background temperature field method is unphysical in the sense that it cannot provide the optimal bound.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Mathematik und Informatik > Mathematik > Analysis (Crippa)
12 Special Collections > Preprints Fachbereich Mathematik
UniBasel Contributors:Nobili, Camilla
Item Type:Preprint
Publisher:Universität Basel
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Last Modified:30 Jun 2019 17:19
Deposited On:28 Mar 2019 09:51

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