Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Shear-flow instability at the interface between two viscous fluids

A. P.  Hooper a1p1 and W. G. C.  Boyd a1
a1 School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TW

Article author query
hooper ap   [Google Scholar] 
boyd wg   [Google Scholar] 


We consider the linear stability of the cocurrent flow of two fluids of different viscosity in an infinite region (the viscous analogue of the classical Kelvin-Helmholtz problem). Attention is confined to the simplest case, Couette flow, and we solve the problem using both numerical and asymptotic techniques. We find that the flow is always unstable (in the absence of surface tension). The instability arises at the interface between the two fluids and occurs for short wavelengths, when viscosity rather than inertia is the dominant physical effect.

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received March 8 1982)
(Revised October 27 1982)

p1 Present address: Department of Mathematics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.