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Experiments with Rayleigh-Benard convection Guenter Ahlers

Summary: Experiments with Rayleigh-B´enard convection
Guenter Ahlers
Department of Physics and IQUEST, University of California
Santa Barbara CA 93106 USA
e-mail: guenter@physics.ucsb.edu
Summary. After a brief review in the Introduction of the major breakthroughs in the
study of Rayleigh-B´enard convection (RBC) since the experiments of Henri B´enard,
a few selected topics are presented in more detail. The effect of thermal noise on the
bifurcation to convection is discussed because experimental work on this is quite recent
and as yet incomplete. Examples of spatio-temporal chaos are examined because this
interesting nonlinear state is as yet incompletely understood. The effect of rotation
on RBC is presented because some of the experimental results disagree with modern
1 Introduction
Convection in a shallow horizontal layer of a fluid heated from below had been
observed on several occasions during the 19th
Century.[1] However, the carefully
controlled and quantitative laboratory experiments of Henri B´enard [2] focused
the interests of other scientists on this fascinating problem. B´enard studied the
patterns of the convective flow in the presence of a free upper surface, using a


Source: Ahlers, Guenter - Department of Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Physics