Journal of Fluid Mechanics


The Richtmyer–Meshkov instability of a three-dimensional air/SF6 interface with a minimum-surface feature

Xisheng Luoa1 c1, Xiansheng Wanga1 and Ting Sia1

a1 Advanced Propulsion Laboratory, Department of Modern Mechanics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China


A novel method to create a discontinuous gaseous interface with a minimum-surface feature by the soap film technique is developed for three-dimensional (3D) Richtmyer–Meshkov instability (RMI) studies. The interface formed is free of supporting mesh and the initial condition can be well controlled. Five air/SF6 interfaces with different amplitude are realized in shock-tube experiments. Time-resolved schlieren and planar Mie-scattering photography are employed to capture the motion of the shocked interface. It is found that the instability at the linear stage in the symmetry plane grows much slower than the predictions of previous two-dimensional (2D) impulsive models, which is ascribed to the opposite principal curvatures of the minimum surface. The 2D impulsive model is extended to describe the general 3D RMI. A quantitative analysis reveals a good agreement between experiments and the extended linear model for all the configurations including both the 2D and 3D RMIs at their early stages. An empirical model that combines the early linear growth with the late-time nonlinear growth is also proposed for the whole evolution process of the present configuration.

(Received January 31 2013)

(Revised March 05 2013)

(Accepted March 08 2013)

(Online publication April 04 2013)

Key words

  • compressible turbulence;
  • nonlinear instability;
  • shock waves


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