The viscoelastic Kolmogorov flow: Eddy viscosity and linear stability

G. Boffetta, A. Celani, A. Mazzino, A. Puliafito, M. Vergassola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The stability properties of the laminar Kolmogorov flow of a viscoelastic Oldroyd-B fluid are investigated both analytically and numerically. Linear stability with respect to large-scale perturbations is studied by means of multiple-scale analysis. This technique yields an effective diffusion equation for the large-scale perturbation where the effective (eddy) viscosity can be computed analytically. Stability amounts to the positive definiteness of the eddy-viscosity tensor as a function of the Reynolds and the Deborah numbers. Two main results emerge from our analysis: (i) at small fluid elasticity, the flow is more stable than in the Newtonian case; (ii) at high elasticity, the flow is prone to elastic instabilities, occurring even at vanishing Reynolds number. The hypothesis of scale separation is verified up to moderate elasticity, as checked by numerical integration of the exact linearized equations by the Arnoldi method. Finally, it is shown that the addition of a stress diffusivity counteracts the effect of elasticity, in agreement with simple physical arguments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 25 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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