Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis

, Volume 231, Issue 3, pp 1811–1852 | Cite as

Metastability of Kolmogorov Flows and Inviscid Damping of Shear Flows

  • Zhiwu LinEmail author
  • Ming Xu


First, we consider Kolmogorov flow (a shear flow with a sinusoidal velocity profile) for 2D Navier–Stokes equation on a torus. Such flows, also called bar states, have been numerically observed as one type of metastable state in the study of 2D turbulence. For both rectangular and square tori, we prove that the non-shear part of erturbations near Kolmogorov flow decays in a time scale much shorter than the viscous time scale. The results are obtained for both the linearized NS equations with any initial vorticity in L2, and the nonlinear NS equation with initial L2 norm of vorticity of the size of viscosity. In the proof, we use the Hamiltonian structure of the linearized Euler equation and the RAGE theorem to control the low frequency part of the perturbation. Second, we consider two classes of shear flows for which a sharp stability criterion is known. We show the inviscid damping in a time average sense for non-shear perturbations with initial vorticity in L2. For the unstable case, the inviscid damping is proved on the center space. Our proof again uses the Hamiltonian structure of the linearized Euler equation and an instability index theory recently developed by Lin and Zeng for Hamiltonian PDEs.


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Lin is supported in part by NSF Grants DMS-1411803 and DMS-1715201. Part of this work started when Xu visited Georgia Tech during 2013-2014 by the support of JiNan University’s oversea visiting fund. He thanks Georgia Tech for its hospitality during the visit. After this paper was finished, we learned that more quantitative results for the linear enhanced damping of Kolmogorov flows were obtained in [26]. Lin thanks Dongyi Wei, Zhifei Zhang and Weiren Zhao for their comments and discussions. The authors also thank the anonymous referee for useful comments.

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Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest for the research in this paper.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsJiNan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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