Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Symmetry breaking in periodic and solitary gravity-capillary waves on water of finite depth

Juan A.  Zufiria a1
a1 Applied Mathematics Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

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A weakly nonlinear model is developed from the Hamiltonian formulation of water waves, to study the bifurcation structure of gravity-capillary waves on water of finite depth. It is found that, besides a very rich structure of symmetric solutions, non-symmetric Wilton's ripples exist. They appear via a spontaneous symmetrybreaking bifurcation from symmetric solutions. The bifurcation tree is similar to that for gravity waves. The solitary wave with surface tension is studied with the same model close to a critical depth. It is found that the solution is not unique, and that further non-symmetric solitary waves are possible. The bifurcation tree has the same structure as for the case of periodic waves. The possibility of checking these results in low-gravity experiments is postulated.

(Published Online April 21 2006)
(Received September 23 1986)

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