Fr.: cascade d'énergie
The → turbulent process whereby → kinetic energy is transformed into heat by the action of nonlinear coupling which transfers the energy from large eddies (→ eddy) to smaller and smaller eddies, finally arriving at → dissipative scales dominated by → viscosity (direct cascade). In the simplest case (3D homogeneous hydrodynamic turbulence), the resulting energy distribution is the → Kolmogorov spectrum. The reverse process also exists (inverse cascade) whereby energy is transferred to larger and larger eddies.