Resolving the fine-scale structure in turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection
We present high-resolution direct numerical simulation studies of turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a closed cylindrical cell with an aspect ratio of one. The focus of our analysis is on the finest scales of convective turbulence, in particular the statistics of the kinetic energy and thermal dissipation rates in the bulk and the whole cell. The fluctuations of the energy dissipation field can directly be translated into a fluctuating local dissipation scale which is found to develop ever finer fluctuations with increasing Rayleigh number. The range of these scales as well as the probability of high-amplitude dissipation events decreases with increasing Prandtl number. In addition, we examine the joint statistics of the two dissipation fields and the consequences of high-amplitude events. We have also investigated the convergence properties of our spectral element method and have found that both dissipation fields are very sensitive to insufficient resolution. We demonstrate that global transport properties, such as the Nusselt number, and the energy balances are partly insensitive to insufficient resolution and yield correct results even when the dissipation fields are under-resolved. Our present numerical framework is also compared with high-resolution simulations which use a finite difference method. For most of the compared quantities the agreement is found to be satisfactory.