Hindered Energy Cascade in Highly Helical Isotropic Turbulence

Rodion Stepanov, Ephim Golbraikh, Peter Frick, Alexander Shestakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The conventional approach to the turbulent energy cascade, based on Richardson-Kolmogorov phenomenology, ignores the topology of emerging vortices, which is related to the helicity of the turbulent flow. It is generally believed that helicity can play a significant role in turbulent systems, e.g., supporting the generation of large-scale magnetic fields, but its impact on the energy cascade to small scales has never been observed. We suggest, for the first time, a generalized phenomenology for isotropic turbulence with an arbitrary spectral distribution of the helicity. We discuss various scenarios of direct turbulent cascades with new helicity effect, which can be interpreted as a hindering of the spectral energy transfer. Therefore, the energy is accumulated and redistributed so that the efficiency of nonlinear interactions will be sufficient to provide a constant energy flux. We confirm our phenomenology by high Reynolds number numerical simulations based on a shell model of helical turbulence. The energy in our model is injected at a certain large scale only, whereas the source of helicity is distributed over all scales. In particular, we found that the helical bottleneck effect can appear in the inertial interval of the energy spectrum.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number234501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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