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Stratified shear instabilities at low Prandtl number

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TURW05 - Advances in geophysical and astrophysical turbulence

Shear is an important source of turbulence and mixing in the stably stratified regions of stars. An important difference between shear-induced mixing in stars and in geophysical flows is the Prandtl number, which is of order 1 in the latter, but asymptotically small in the former.  At low Prandtl number, it is possible to have flows that have a high Reynolds number, but that at the same time are thermally diffusive. This always happens at the smaller scales, and sometimes also happens on the larger scales, leading to several different regimes for stratified mixing. I will review what is known of shear-induced mixing at low Prandtl number, for vertical shear instabilities, and for horizontal shear instabilities. 

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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