Multiscale character of the nonlinear coherent dynamics in the Rayleigh-Taylor instability

SI Abarzhi, K Nishihara, R Rosner

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24 Citations (Scopus)


We report nonlinear solutions for a system of conservation laws describing the dynamics of the large-scale coherent structure of bubbles and spikes in the Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI) for fluids with a finite density ratio. Three-dimensional flows are considered with general type of symmetry in the plane normal to the direction of gravity. The nonlocal properties of the interface evolution are accounted for on the basis of group theory. It is shown that isotropic coherent structures are stable. For anisotropic structures, secondary instabilities develop with the growth rate determined by the density ratio. For stable structures, the curvature and velocity of the nonlinear bubble have nontrivial dependencies on the density ratio, yet their mutual dependence on one another has an invariant form independent of the density ratio. The process of bubble merge is not considered. Based on the obtained results we argue that the large-scale coherent dynamics in RTI has a multiscale character and is governed by two length scales: the period of the coherent structure and the bubble (spike) position.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036310
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


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