Turbulence and the Stabilization Principle

Further results of research, reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, were obtained on a mathematical formalism for postinstability motions of a dynamical system characterized by exponential divergences of trajectories leading to chaos (including turbulence).

To recapitulate: Fictitious control forces are introduced to couple the dynamical equations with a Liouville equation that describes the evolution of the probability density of errors in initial conditions. These forces create a powerful terminal attractor in probability space that corresponds to occurrence of a target trajectory with probability one. The effect in ordinary perceived three-dimensional space is to suppress exponential divergences of neighboring trajectories without affecting the target trajectory. Consequently, the postinstability motion is represented by a set of functions describing the evolution of such statistical quantities as expectations and higher moments, and this representation is stable.

The previously reported findings are analyzed from the perspective of the authors’ Stabilization Principle, according to which (1) stability is recognized as an attribute of mathematical formalism rather than of underlying physics and (2) a dynamical system that appears unstable when modeled by differentiable functions only can be rendered stable by modifying the dynamical equations to incorporate intrinsic stochasticity.

This work was done by Michail Zak of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . NPO-45937

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