Date of this Version
By measuring the tracks of tracer particles in a quasi-two-dimensional spatiotemporally chaotic laboratory flow, we determine the instantaneous curvature along each trajectory and use it to construct the instantaneous curvature field. We show that this field can be used to extract the time-dependent hyperbolic and elliptic points of the flow. These important topological features are created and annihilated in pairs only above a critical Reynolds number that is largest for highly symmetric flows. We also study the statistics of curvature for different driving patterns and show that the curvature probability distribution is insensitive to the details of the flow.
Date Posted: 25 January 2011
This document has been peer reviewed.