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A recent theoretical study [Borisov, Kilin, and Mamaev, “The dynamics of vortex rings: Leapfrogging, choreographies and the stability problem,” Regular Chaotic Dyn. , 33 (2013); Borisov , “The dynamics of vortex rings: Leapfrogging in an ideal and viscous fluid,” Fluid Dyn. Res. , 031415 (2014)] shows that when three coaxial vortex rings travel in the same direction in an incompressible ideal fluid, each of the vortex rings alternately slips through (or leapfrogs) the other two ahead. Here, we use a lattice Boltzmann method to simulate viscous vortex rings with an identical initial circulation, radius, and separation distance with the aim of studying how viscous effect influences the outcomes of the leapfrogging process. For the case of two identical vortex rings, our computation shows that leapfrogging can be achieved only under certain favorable conditions, which depend on Reynolds number, vortex core size, and initial separation distance between the two rings. For the case of three coaxial vortex rings, the result differs from the inviscid model and shows that the second vortex ring always slips through the leading ring first, followed by the third ring slipping through the other two ahead. A simple physical model is proposed to explain the observed behavior.


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