The Topology of Symmetric Tensor FieldsCombinatorial topology, also known as "rubber sheet geometry", has extensive applications in geometry and analysis, many of which result from connections with the theory of differential equations. A link between topology and differential equations is vector fields. Recent developments in scientific visualization have shown that vector fields also play an important role in the analysis of second-order tensor fields. A second-order tensor field can be transformed into its eigensystem, namely, eigenvalues and their associated eigenvectors without loss of information content. Eigenvectors behave in a similar fashion to ordinary vectors with even simpler topological structures due to their sign indeterminacy. Incorporating information about eigenvectors and eigenvalues in a display technique known as hyperstreamlines reveals the structure of a tensor field. The simplify and often complex tensor field and to capture its important features, the tensor is decomposed into an isotopic tensor and a deviator. A tensor field and its deviator share the same set of eigenvectors, and therefore they have a similar topological structure. A a deviator determines the properties of a tensor field, while the isotopic part provides a uniform bias. Degenerate points are basic constituents of tensor fields. In 2-D tensor fields, there are only two types of degenerate points; while in 3-D, the degenerate points can be characterized in a Q'-R' plane. Compressible and incompressible flows share similar topological feature due to the similarity of their deviators. In the case of the deformation tensor, the singularities of its deviator represent the area of vortex core in the field. In turbulent flows, the similarities and differences of the topology of the deformation and the Reynolds stress tensors reveal that the basic addie-viscosity assuptions have their validity in turbulence modeling under certain conditions.
Levin, Yingmei (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA United States)
Batra, Rajesh (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA United States)
Hesselink, Lambertus (Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA United States)