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Two-dimensional patterns in Rayleigh-Taylor instability of a thin layer

  • M. Fermigier (a1), L. Limat (a1) (a2), J. E. Wesfreid (a1), P. Boudinet (a1) and C. Quilliet (a1)...

Abstract

We study experimentally and theoretically the evolution of two-dimensional patterns in the Rayleigh—Taylor instability of a thin layer of viscous fluid spread on a solid surface. Various kinds of patterns of different symmetries are observed, with possible transition between patterns, the preferred symmetries being the axial and hexagonal ones. Starting from the lubrication hypothesis, we derive the nonlinear evolution equation of the interface, and the amplitude equation of its Fourier components. The evolution laws of the different patterns are calculated at order two or three, the preferred symmetries being related to the non-invariance of the system by amplitude reflection. We also discuss qualitatively the dripping at final stage of the instability.

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