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Publication# Noise-induced transitions past the onset of a steady symmetry-breaking bifurcation: The case of the sudden expansion

Abstract

We consider fluid flows, governed by the Navier-Stokes equations, subject to a steady symmetry-breaking bifurcation and forced by a weak noise acting on a slow timescale. By generalizing the multiple-scale weakly nonlinear expansion technique employed in the literature for the response of the Duffing oscillator, we rigorously derive a stochastically forced Stuart-Landau equation for the dominant symmetry-breaking mode. The probability density function of the solution, and of the escape time from one attractor to the other, are then determined by solving the associated Fokker-Planck equation. The validity of this reduced order model is tested on the flow past a sudden expansion for a given Reynolds number and different noise amplitudes. At a very low numerical cost, the statistics obtained from the amplitude equation accurately reproduce those of long-time direct numerical simulations.

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Stokes flow (named after George Gabriel Stokes), also named creeping flow or creeping motion, is a type of fluid flow where advective inertial forces are small compared with viscous forces. The Reynolds number is low, i.e. . This is a typical situation in flows where the fluid velocities are very slow, the viscosities are very large, or the length-scales of the flow are very small. Creeping flow was first studied to understand lubrication. In nature, this type of flow occurs in the swimming of microorganisms and sperm.

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In physics, physical chemistry and engineering, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that describes the flow of fluids—liquids and gases. It has several subdisciplines, including aerodynamics (the study of air and other gases in motion) and hydrodynamics (the study of liquids in motion). Fluid dynamics has a wide range of applications, including calculating forces and moments on aircraft, determining the mass flow rate of petroleum through pipelines, predicting weather patterns, understanding nebulae in interstellar space and modelling fission weapon detonation.

Navier–Stokes equations

The Navier–Stokes equations (nævˈjeː_stəʊks ) are partial differential equations which describe the motion of viscous fluid substances, named after French engineer and physicist Claude-Louis Navier and Irish physicist and mathematician George Gabriel Stokes. They were developed over several decades of progressively building the theories, from 1822 (Navier) to 1842-1850 (Stokes). The Navier–Stokes equations mathematically express momentum balance and conservation of mass for Newtonian fluids.

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