Transient nonlinear Rayleigh-Bénard convection with single-mode initiation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPhysics of Fluids. 2021, 33 (114111), . https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0067546
Transient nonlinear convection in a finite Prandtl number fluid heated uniformly from below is studied analytically and numerically. We consider the simple geometry of a square cavity with normal-mode compatible boundary conditions. By design, only the marginal state of convection onset contributes to the initial condition for the two-dimensional supercritical convection. The thermal amplitude and the flow amplitude are taken as two independent initial conditions. There are two ways of initiation: (i) soft start with a very small initial amplitude, leading to early exponential growth. (ii) Kick-started transient convection with relatively large initial amplitudes, by which we perform a small-time expansion for benchmarking. Seemingly complicated transient flow occurs with a kick-start where the initial spin and the initial buoyancy torque are in conflict. However, the intricate spiraling flow decays after a couple of reversals of flow directions, and a steady convection settles. This is due to the strict antisymmetry of the temperature perturbation around the mid-point of the cavity, in combination with the symmetry of the flow field.