Authors: Baldwin Nsonga, Martin Niemann, Jochen Fröhlich, Joachim Staib, Stefan Gumhold, and Gerik Scheuermann
Abstract: Splat and antisplat events are a widely found phenomenon in three-dimensional turbulent flow fields. Splats are observed when fluid locally impinges on an impermeable surface transferring energy from the normal component to the tangential velocity components, while antisplats relate to the inverted situation. These events affect a variety of flow properties, such as the transfer of kinetic energy between velocity components and the transfer of heat, so that their investigation can provide new insight into these issues. Here, we propose the first Lagrangian method for the detection of splats and antisplats as features of an unsteady flow field. Our method utilizes the concept of strain tensors on flow-embedded flat surfaces to extract disjoint regions in which splat and antisplat events of arbitrary scale occur. We validate the method with artificial flow fields of increasing complexity. Subsequently, the method is used to analyze application data stemming from a direct numerical simulation of the turbulent flow over a backward facing step. Our results show that splat and antisplat events can be identified efficiently and reliably even in such a complex situation, demonstrating that the new method constitutes a well-suited tool for the analysis of turbulent flows.