Branched flows of flexural elastic waves in non-uniform cylindrical shells


Propagation of elastic waves along the axis of cylindrical shells is of great current interest due to their ubiquitous presence and technological importance. Geometric imperfections and spatial variations of properties are inevitable in such structures. Here we report the existence of branched flows of flexural waves in such waveguides. The location of high amplitude motion, away from the launch location, scales as a power law with respect to the variance, and linearly with respect to the correlation length of the spatial variation in the bending stiffness. These scaling laws are then theoretically derived from the ray equations. Numerical integration of the ray equations also exhibit this behaviour—consistent with finite element numerical simulations as well as the theoretically derived scaling. There appears to be a universality for the exponents in the scaling with respect to similar observations in the past for waves in other physical contexts, as well as dispersive flexural waves in elastic plates.