Stability Of Double-Diffusive Finger Convection In A Non-Linear Time Varying Background State
Ghaisas, Niranjan Shrinivas
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Convection set up in a fluid due to the presence of two components of differing diffusivities is known as double diffusive convection. Double diffusive convection is observed in nature, in oceans, in the formation of certain columnar rock structures and in stellar interiors. The major engineering applications of double diffusive convection are in the fields metallurgy and alloy solidification in casting processes. The two components may be any two substances which affect the density of the fluid, heat and salt being the pair found most commonly in nature. Depending upon the initial stratifications of the two components, double diffusive convection can be set up in either the diffusive mode or the finger mode. In this thesis, the linear stability of a double diffusive system prone to finger instability has been studied in the presence of temporally varying non-linear background profiles of temperature and salinity. The motivation for the present study is to bridge the gap between existing theories, which mainly concentrate on linear background profiles independent of time, on the one hand and experiments and numerical simulations, which have time dependent step-like non-linear background profiles, on the other. The general stability characteristics of a double diffusive system with step-like background profiles have been studied using the standard normal mode method. The background temperature and salinity profiles are assumed to follow the hyperbolic tangent function, since it has a step-like character. The sharpness of the step can be altered by changing a suitable parameter in the hyperbolic tangent function. It is found that changing the degree of non-linearity of the background profile of one of the components keeping the background profile of the other component linear affects the growth rate, Wave number and the form of the disturbances. In general, increasing the degree of nonlinearity of background salinity profile makes the system more unstable and results in a reduction in the vertical extent of the disturbances. On the other hand, increasing the degree of non-linearity of the background temperature profile with the salinity profile kept linear results in a reduction in the growth rate and increase in the wave number. The form of the disturbance may change due to enhanced modal competition between the gravest odd and even modes in this case. The method of normal modes inherently assumes that the background profiles of temperature and salinity are independent of time and hence, it cannot be used for studying the stability of systems with time varying background profiles. A pseudo-similarity method has been used to handle such background profiles. Initial steps of temperature and salinity diffuse according to the error function form, and hence, the case of error function background profiles has been studied in detail. Taking into account the time-dependence of background profiles has been shown to significantly change the wave number and the incipient flux ratio. The dependence of the critical wave number (kc) on the thermal Rayleigh number (RaT ) can be determined analytically and is found to change from kc ~ Ra T1/4 for linear background profiles to kc ~ Ra T1/3 for error function profiles. The region of instability in the Rp (density stability ratio) space is found to increase from 1 ≤ R ρ ≤ r−1 for linear background profiles to 1 ≤ Rρ < r−3/2 for error function background profiles, where T denotes the ratio of the diffusivity of the slower diffusing component to that of the faster diffusing one. A parametric study covering a wide range of parameter values has been carried out to determine the effect of the parameters density stability ratio (Rp), diffusivity ratio (ρ ) and Prandtl number (Pr) on the onset time, critical wavenumber and the incipient flux ratio. The wide range of governing parameters covered here is beyond the scope of experimental and numerical studies. Such a wide range can be covered by theoretical approaches alone. It has been shown that the time of onset of convection determines the thicknesses of the temperature and salinity boundary layers, which in turn determine the width of salt fingers. Finally, the theoretical predictions of salt finger widths have been shown to be in agreement with the results of two dimensional numerical simulations of thermohaline system.
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