Topological constraints in the reconnection of vortex braids

S. Candelaresi (Lead / Corresponding author), G. Hornig, B. Podger, D. Pontin

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4 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


We study the relaxation of a topologically nontrivial vortex braid with zero net helicity in a barotropic fluid. The aim is to investigate the extent to which the topology of the vorticity field—characterized by braided vorticity field lines—determines the dynamics, particularly the asymptotic behavior under vortex reconnection in evolution at high Reynolds numbers (25 000). Analogous to the evolution of braided magnetic fields in plasma, we find that the relaxation of our vortex braid leads to a simplification of the topology into large-scale regions of opposite swirl, consistent with an inverse cascade of the helicity. The change of topology is facilitated by a cascade of vortex reconnection events. During this process, the existence of regions of positive and negative kinetic helicities imposes a lower bound for the kinetic energy. For the enstrophy, we derive analytically a lower bound given by the presence of unsigned kinetic helicity, which we confirm in our numerical experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number056101
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number5
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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