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Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities in axi-symmetric outflow from a point source


Forbes, LK, Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities in axi-symmetric outflow from a point source, ANZIAM Journal, 53, (2) pp. 87-121. ISSN 1446-1811 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Australian Mathematical Society

DOI: doi:10.1017/S1446181112000090


This paper studies outflow of a light fluid from a point source, starting from an initially spherical bubble. This region of light fluid is embedded in a heavy fluid, from which it is separated by a thin interface. A gravitational force directed radially inward toward the mass source is permitted. Because the light inner fluid is pushing the heavy outer fluid, the interface between them may be unstable to small perturbations, in the Rayleigh–Taylor sense. An inviscid model of this two-layer flow is presented, and a linearized solution is developed for early times. It is argued that the inviscid solution develops a point of infinite curvature at the interface within finite time, after which the solution fails to exist. A Boussinesq viscous model is then presented as a means of quantifying the precise effects of viscosity. The interface is represented as a narrow region of large density gradient. The viscous results agree well with the inviscid theory at early times, but the curvature singularity of the inviscid theory is instead replaced by jet formation in the viscous case. This may be of relevance to underwater explosions and stellar evolution.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:interface; instability; curvature singularity; Rayleigh–Taylor flow; spectral methods; spherical coordinates; Boussinesq approximation; vorticity; one-sided outflows
Research Division:Mathematical Sciences
Research Group:Mathematical physics
Research Field:Algebraic structures in mathematical physics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the mathematical sciences
UTAS Author:Forbes, LK (Professor Larry Forbes)
ID Code:79218
Year Published:2011
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP1093658)
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2012-08-24
Last Modified:2018-04-16
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