Onset of double-diffusive convection in a rectangular cavity with stress-free upper boundary

Zhi Wu Chen, Jie Min Zhan, Yok Sheung Li, Yu Hua Nie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Double-diffusive buoyancy convection in an open-top rectangular cavity with horizontal temperature and concentration gradients is considered. Attention is restricted to the case where the opposing thermal and solutal buoyancy effects are of equal magnitude (buoyancy ratio Rρ=-1). In this case, a quiescent equilibrium solution exists and can remain stable up to a critical thermal Grashof number Grc. Linear stability analysis and direct numerical simulation show that depending on the cavity aspect ratio A, the first primary instability can be oscillatory, while that in a closed cavity is always steady. Near a codimension-two point, the two leading real eigenvalues merge into a complex coalescence that later produces a supercritical Hopf bifurcation. As Gr further increases, this complex coalescence splits into two real eigenvalues again. The oscillatory flow consists of counter-rotating vortices traveling from right to left and there exists a critical aspect ratio below which the onset of convection is always oscillatory. Neutral stability curves showing the influences of A, Lewis number Le, and Prandtl number Pr are obtained. While the number of vortices increases as A decreases, the flow structure of the eigenfunction does not change qualitatively when Le or Pr is varied. The supercritical oscillatory flow later undergoes a period-doubling bifurcation and the new oscillatory flow soon becomes unstable at larger Gr. Random initial fields are used to start simulations and many different subcritical steady states are found. These steady states correspond to much stronger flows when compared to the oscillatory regime. The influence of Le on the onset of steady flows and the corresponding heat and mass transfer properties are also investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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