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Spatially localized binary-fluid convection. (English) Zbl 1122.76029
Summary: Multiple states of spatially localized steady convection are found in numerical simulations of water–ethanol mixtures in two dimensions. Realistic boundary conditions at the top and bottom are used, with periodic boundary conditions in the horizontal. The states form by a mechanism similar to the pinning region around a Maxwell point in variational systems, but are located in a parameter regime in which the conduction state is overstable. Despite this the localized states can be stable. The properties of the localized states are described in detail, and the mechanism of their destruction with increasing or decreasing Rayleigh number is elucidated. When the Rayleigh number becomes too large the fronts bounding the state at either end unpin and move apart, allowing steady convection to invade the domain. In contrast, when the Rayleigh number is too small the fronts move inwards, and eliminate the localized state which decays into dispersive chaos. Out of this state spatially localized states re-emerge at irregular times before decaying again. Thus an interval of Rayleigh numbers exists that is characterized by relaxation oscillations between localized convection and dispersive chaos.

76E06 Convection in hydrodynamic stability
76M22 Spectral methods applied to problems in fluid mechanics
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