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Experiments on the evolkion of gravitational instability of an overturned, initially stably stratified fluid
 

Summary: Experiments on the evolkion of gravitational instability of an overturned,
initially stably stratified fluid
S. I. Voropayev and Y. D. Afanasyev
Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, I1 7218, Russia
G. J. F. van Heijst
J. M. Burgers Centre for Fluid Mechanics, Department of Technical Physics, Eindhoven University of
Technology, I? 0. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
(Received 23 January 1992; accepted 27 May 1993)
Unstable density stratifications were created in the laboratory by rapid overturning of a narrow
tank containing an initially stable density structure. The experiments were carried out for two
different initial density distributions: (i) a two-layer (steplike) and [ii) a linear stratification.
For the former case the depth of the mixing layer was found to increase linearly with time. The
number of convective elements (thermal-like flow structures) present at the front of the mixing
layer was observed to decrease with time, through the mechanism of subsequent pairing. In the
case of an initially linear stratification the flow evolution is characterized by a number of distinct
stages: different modes of instability emerge subsequently through the entire fluid column,
leading to the formation of horizontal layers, which finally break up into thermal-like convective
flow structures.
I. INTRODUCTION
A system consisting of heavier fluid lying on top of less

  

Source: Afanassiev, Iakov - Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland

 

Collections: Geosciences