Department of Physics Papers

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Journal Article

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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.


Suggested Citation:
N.T. Ouellette and J.P. Gollub. (2008). "Dynamic Topology in Spatiotemporal Chaos." Physics of Fluids. 20, 064104.

© 2008 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Physics of Fluids and may be found at

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Date Posted: 25 January 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.