Stochastic Chaos in a Turbulent Swirling Flow
AbstractWe report the experimental evidence of the existence of a random attractor in a fully developed turbulent swirling flow. By defining a global observable which tracks the asymmetry in the flux of angular momentum imparted to the flow, we can first reconstruct the associated turbulent attractor and then follow its route towards chaos. We further show that the experimental attractor can be modeled by stochastic Duffing equations, that match the quantitative properties of the experimental flow, namely, the number of quasistationary states and transition rates among them, the effective dimensions, and the continuity of the first Lyapunov exponents. Such properties can be recovered neither using deterministic models nor using stochastic differential equations based on effective potentials obtained by inverting the probability distributions of the experimental global observables. Our findings open the way to low-dimensional modeling of systems featuring a large number of degrees of freedom and multiple quasistationary states.