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The stability and energetics of corotating uniform vortices. (English) Zbl 0574.76026
Equilibrium shapes of two-dimensional rotating configurations of uniform vortices are numerically calculated for two to eight corotating vortices. Additionally, a perturbation series is developed which approximately describes the vortex shapes. The equilibrium configurations are subjected to a linear stability analysis. This analysis both confirms existing results regarding point vortices and shows that finite vortices may destabilize via a new form of instability derived from boundary deformations. Finally, we examine the energetics of the equilibrium configurations. We introduce a new energy quantity called ’excess energy’, which is particularly useful in understanding the constraints on the evolution of unstable near-equilibrium configurations. This theory offers a first glance at nonlinear stability. As an example, the theory explains some features of the merger of two vortices.

MSC:
76B47 Vortex flows for incompressible inviscid fluids
76M99 Basic methods in fluid mechanics
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