Triadic resonances in non-linear simulations of a fluid flow in a precessing cylinder

Andre Giesecke, Thomas Albrecht, Thomas Gundrum, Johann Herault, Frank Stefani

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We present results from three-dimensional nonlinear hydrodynamic simulations of a precession driven flow in cylindrical geometry. The simulations are motivated by a dynamo experiment currently under development at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf in which the possibility of generating a magnetohydrodynamic dynamo will be investigated in a cylinder filled with liquid sodium and simultaneously rotating around two axes. In this study, we focus on the emergence of non-axisymmetric time-dependent flow structures in terms of inertial waves which - in cylindrical geometry - form so-called Kelvin modes. For a precession ratio (Poincaré number) considered by us, the amplitude of the forced Kelvin mode reaches up to one fourth of the rotation velocity of the cylindrical container confirming that precession provides a rather efficient flow driving mechanism even at moderate values of Po. More relevant for dynamo action might be free Kelvin modes with higher azimuthal wave number. These free Kelvin modes are triggered by nonlinear interactions and may constitute a triadic resonance with the fundamental forced mode when the height of the container matches their axial wave lengths. Our simulations reveal triadic resonances at aspect ratios close to those predicted by the linear theory except around the primary resonance of the forced mode. In that regime we still identify various free Kelvin modes, however, all of them exhibit a retrograde drift around the symmetry axis of the cylinder and none of them can be assigned to a triadic resonance. The amplitudes of the free Kelvin modes always remain below the forced mode but may reach up to 6% of the of the container's angular velocity. The properties of the free Kelvin modes, namely their amplitude and their frequency, will be used in future simulations of the magnetic induction equation to investigate their ability to provide for dynamo action. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113044
Number of pages18
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2015


  • dynamo
  • inertial waves
  • precession

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