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A mechanism for layer formation in a double-diffusive fluid. (English) Zbl 1065.76086

The paper deals with numerical and theoretical modeling of layer formation and evolution in a salt-fingering favourable fluid. Linear stability analysis shows that the uniform temperature-salinity gradient is unstable as long as the flux ratio is a decreasing function of the density ratio. The unstable large-scale perturbations continuously grow in time until well-defined layers are formed. Subsequent evolution of numerical staircases is explained by considering the secondary instabilities of a series of salt-finger interfaces.

MSC:

76E17 Interfacial stability and instability in hydrodynamic stability
76R50 Diffusion
76M22 Spectral methods applied to problems in fluid mechanics
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