Motif distributions in phase-space networks for characterizing experimental two-phase flow patterns with chaotic features

Zhong-Ke Gao, Ning-De Jin, Wen-Xu Wang, Ying-Cheng Lai

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68 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics of two-phase flows have been a challenging problem in nonlinear dynamics and fluid mechanics. We propose a method to characterize and distinguish patterns from inclined water-oil flow experiments based on the concept of network motifs that have found great usage in network science and systems biology. In particular, we construct from measured time series phase-space complex networks and then calculate the distribution of a set of distinct network motifs. To gain insight, we first test the approach using time series from classical chaotic systems and find a universal feature: motif distributions from different chaotic systems are generally highly heterogeneous. Our main finding is that the distributions from experimental two-phase flows tend to be heterogeneous as well, suggesting the underlying chaotic nature of the flow patterns. Calculation of the maximal Lyapunov exponent provides further support for this. Motif distributions can thus be a feasible tool to understand the dynamics of realistic two-phase flow patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number016210
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2010

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