On the stability threshold for the 3D Couette flow in Sobolev regularity

Abstract

We study Sobolev regularity disturbances to the periodic, plane Couette flow in the 3D incompressible Navier-Stokes equations at high Reynolds number \textbfRe. Our goal is to estimate how the stability threshold scales in $\textbf{Re}$: the largest the initial perturbation can be while still resulting in a solution that does not transition away from Couette flow. In this work we prove that initial data that satisfies $\|u_{\rm in}\|_{H^\sigma} \leq \delta\textbf{Re}^{-3/2}$ for any $\sigma > 9/2$ and some $\delta = \delta(\sigma) > 0$ depending only on $\sigma$ is global in time, remains within $O(\textbf{Re}^{-1/2})$ of the Couette flow in $L^2$ for all time, and converges to the class of “2.5-dimensional” streamwise-independent solutions referred to as streaks for times $t \gtrsim \textbf{Re}^{1/3}$. Numerical experiments performed by Reddy et. al. with “rough” initial data estimated a threshold of $\sim \textbf{Re}^{-31/20}$, which shows very close agreement with our estimate.

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Authors

Jacob Bedrossian

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Pierre Germain

Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY

Nader Masmoudi

Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY