Spatio-Temporal Visual Analysis of Turbulent Superstructures in Unsteady Flow

Behdad Ghaffari1; Davide Gatti2; Rüdiger Westermann1

1 Technical University of Munich, Germany

2 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany


The large-scale motions in 3D turbulent channel flows, known as Turbulent Superstructures (TSS), play an essential role in the dynamics of small-scale structures within the turbulent boundary layer. However, as of today, there is no common agreement on the spatial and temporal relationships between these multiscale structures. We propose a novel space-time visualization technique for analyzing the temporal evolution of these multiscale structures in their spatial context and, thus, to further shed light on the conceptually different explanations of their dynamics. Since the temporal dynamics of TSS are believed to influence the structures in the turbulent boundary layer, we propose a combination of a 2D space-time velocity plot with an orthogonal 2D plot of projected 3D flow structures, which can interactively span the time and the space axis. Besides flow structures indicating the fluid motion, we propose showing the variations in derived fields as an additional source of explanation. The relationships between the structures in different spatial and temporal scales can be more effectively resolved by using various filtering operations and image registration algorithms. To reduce the information loss due to the non-injective nature of projection, spatial information is encoded into transparency or color. Since the proposed visualization is heavily demanding computational resources and memory bandwidth to stream unsteady flow fields and instantly compute derived 3D flow structures, the implementation exploits data compression, parallel computation capabilities, and high memory bandwidth on recent GPUs via the CUDA compute library.