Stratification-confined Rayleigh-Taylor instability

Andrew G W Lawrie, SB Dalziel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


A novel density stratification that includes both statically stable and Rayleigh-Taylor unstable com- ponents is studied experimentally with a miscible, incompressible fluid. Specifically, we examine the case where fluid either side of the Rayleigh-Taylor interface has a linear stable stratifica- tion, and address the fundamental question of how far the instability will penetrate into the stable stratification. The stable stratification suppresses the instability progressively from the instant of release. Eventually the instability is stabilised at a certain height, and our analysis indicates that this height can be estimated from very simple arguments based on the complete mixing observed in the classical instability between homogeneous layers. This powerful new result has profound implications for our understanding of mixing processes in density stratified flows.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulti-phase Science and Technology
PublisherBegell House Inc.
Number of pages7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2010


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