Abstract Motivated by the desire to understand the rich dynamics of precessionally driven flow in a liquid planetary core, we investigate, through numerical simulations, the precessing fluid motion in a rotating cylindrical annulus, which simultaneously possesses slow precession. The same problem has been studied extensively in cylinders, where the precessing flow is characterized by three key parameters: the Ekman number E, the Poincaré number Po and the radius-height aspect ratio Γ. While in an annulus, there is another parameter, the inner-radius-height aspect ratio ϒ, which also plays an important role in controlling the structure and evolution of the flow. By decomposing the nonlinear solution into a set of inertial modes, we demonstrate the properties of both weakly and moderately precessing flows. it is found that, when the precessional force is weak, the flow is stable with a constant amplitude of kinetic energy. As the precessional force increases, our simulation suggests that the nonlinear interaction between the boundary effects and the inertial modes can trigger more turbulence, introducing a transitional regime of rich dynamics to disordered flow. The inertial mode u111, followed by u113 or u112 , always dominates the precessing flow when 0.001 ≤ Po ≤ 0.05, ranging from weak to moderate precession. Moreover, the precessing flow in an annulus shows more stability than in a cylinder which is likely to be caused by the effect of the inner boundary that restricts the growth of resonant and non-resonant inertial modes. Furthermore, the mechanism of triadic resonance is not found in the transitional regime from a laminar to disordered flow.
Keywords Astrometry and Celestial Mechanics: terrestrial planets — planets and satellites: interiors — planets and satellites: instabilities: waves
It accepts original submissions from all over the world and is internationally published and distributed by IOP