The static state of a horizontal layer of fluid heated from below may become unstable. If the layer is infinitely large in horizontal extent, the Boussinesq equations admit many different steady solutions. A systematic method is presented here which yields the finite-amplitude steady solutions by means of successive approximations. It turns out that not every solution of the linear problem is an approximation to the non-linear problem, yet there are still an infinite number of finite amplitude solutions. A similar procedure has been applied to the stability problem for these steady finite amplitude solutions with the result that three-dimensional solutions are unstable but there is a class of two-dimensional flows which are stable. The problem has been treated for both rigid and free boundaries.
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