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  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 497
  • December 2003, pp. 365-380

A mechanism for layer formation in a double-diffusive fluid

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 29 December 2003

The dynamics of layer formation by salt fingers from the uniform temperature and salinity gradients is studied by direct numerical simulations of the two-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations. It is shown that formation of steps in the model is caused by the parametric variation of the flux ratio ($\gamma\,{=}\,{\overline{wT}}/{\overline{wS}}$) as a function of the density ratio ($R$), which leads to an instability of equilibrium with uniform stratification. These unstable large-scale perturbations continuously grow in time until well-defined layers are formed. Subsequent evolution of the numerical staircases is explained by considering the secondary instabilities of a series of salt finger interfaces.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
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