Quantitative classification of vortical flows based on topological features using graph matching

Paul S. Krueger, Michael Hahsler, Eli V. Olinick, Sheila H. Williams, Mohammadreza Zharfa
2019 Proceedings of the Royal Society A  
Vortical flow patterns generated by swimming animals or flow separation (e.g. behind bluff objects such as cylinders) provide important insight to global flow behaviour such as fluid dynamic drag or propulsive performance. The present work introduces a new method for quantitatively comparing and classifying flow fields using a novel graph-theoretic concept, called a weighted Gabriel graph, that employs critical points of the velocity vector field, which identify key flow features such as
more » ... s, as graph vertices. The edges (connections between vertices) and edge weights of the weighted Gabriel graph encode local geometric structure. The resulting graph exhibits robustness to minor changes in the flow fields. Dissimilarity between flow fields is quantified by finding the best match (minimum difference) in weights of matched graph edges under relevant constraints on the properties of the edge vertices, and flows are classified using hierarchical clustering based on computed dissimilarity. Application of this approach to a set of artificially generated, periodic vortical flows demonstrates high classification accuracy, even for large perturbations, and insensitivity to scale variations and number of periods in the periodic flow pattern. The generality of the approach allows for comparison of flows generated by very different means (e.g. different animal species).
doi:10.1098/rspa.2018.0897 pmid:31534418 pmcid:PMC6735483 fatcat:donxfxk6qja7pc4n5olqlveeau