Structure and stability of steady porous medium convection at large Rayleigh number

Baole Wen, Lindsey T. Corson, Gregory P. Chini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A systematic investigation of unstable steady-state solutions of the Darcy–Oberbeck–Boussinesq equations at large values of the Rayleigh number Ra is performed to gain insight into two-dimensional porous medium convection in domains of varying aspect-ratio L. The steady convective states are shown to transport less heat than the statistically steady ‘turbulent’ flow realised at the same parameter values: the Nusselt number Nu∼Ra for turbulent porous medium convection, while Nu∼Ra 0.6 for the maximum heat-transporting steady solutions. A key finding is that the lateral scale of the heat-flux-maximising solutions shrinks roughly as L∼Ra−0.5, reminiscent of the decrease of the mean inter-plume spacing observed in turbulent porous medium convection as the thermal forcing is increased. A spatial Floquet analysis is performed to investigate the linear stability of the fully nonlinear steady convective states, extending a recent study by Hewitt et al. (J. Fluid Mech.737, 2013) by treating a base convective state – and secondary stability modes – that satisfy appropriate boundary conditions along plane parallel walls. As in that study, a bulk instability mode is found for sufficiently small aspect-ratio base states. However, the growth rate of this bulk mode is shown to be significantly reduced by the presence of the walls. Beyond a certain critical Ra-dependent aspect-ratio, the base state is most strongly unstable to a secondary mode that is localised near the heated and cooled walls. Direct numerical simulations, strategically initialised to investigate the fully nonlinear evolution of the most dangerous secondary instability modes, suggest that the (long time) mean inter-plume spacing in statistically-steady porous medium convection results from a balance between the competing effects of these two types of instability.
LanguageEnglish
Pages197- 224
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume772
Early online date5 May 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Fingerprint

Rayleigh number
Porous materials
convection
aspect ratio
Aspect ratio
plumes
spacing
heat
Direct numerical simulation
Nusselt number
direct numerical simulation
turbulent flow
Turbulent flow
Heat flux
heat flux
Convection
Boundary conditions
boundary conditions
Fluids
fluids

Keywords

  • convection in porous media
  • instability
  • pattern formation

Cite this

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title = "Structure and stability of steady porous medium convection at large Rayleigh number",
abstract = "A systematic investigation of unstable steady-state solutions of the Darcy–Oberbeck–Boussinesq equations at large values of the Rayleigh number Ra is performed to gain insight into two-dimensional porous medium convection in domains of varying aspect-ratio L. The steady convective states are shown to transport less heat than the statistically steady ‘turbulent’ flow realised at the same parameter values: the Nusselt number Nu∼Ra for turbulent porous medium convection, while Nu∼Ra 0.6 for the maximum heat-transporting steady solutions. A key finding is that the lateral scale of the heat-flux-maximising solutions shrinks roughly as L∼Ra−0.5, reminiscent of the decrease of the mean inter-plume spacing observed in turbulent porous medium convection as the thermal forcing is increased. A spatial Floquet analysis is performed to investigate the linear stability of the fully nonlinear steady convective states, extending a recent study by Hewitt et al. (J. Fluid Mech.737, 2013) by treating a base convective state – and secondary stability modes – that satisfy appropriate boundary conditions along plane parallel walls. As in that study, a bulk instability mode is found for sufficiently small aspect-ratio base states. However, the growth rate of this bulk mode is shown to be significantly reduced by the presence of the walls. Beyond a certain critical Ra-dependent aspect-ratio, the base state is most strongly unstable to a secondary mode that is localised near the heated and cooled walls. Direct numerical simulations, strategically initialised to investigate the fully nonlinear evolution of the most dangerous secondary instability modes, suggest that the (long time) mean inter-plume spacing in statistically-steady porous medium convection results from a balance between the competing effects of these two types of instability.",
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Structure and stability of steady porous medium convection at large Rayleigh number. / Wen, Baole; Corson, Lindsey T.; Chini, Gregory P.

In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 772, 06.2015, p. 197- 224.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - A systematic investigation of unstable steady-state solutions of the Darcy–Oberbeck–Boussinesq equations at large values of the Rayleigh number Ra is performed to gain insight into two-dimensional porous medium convection in domains of varying aspect-ratio L. The steady convective states are shown to transport less heat than the statistically steady ‘turbulent’ flow realised at the same parameter values: the Nusselt number Nu∼Ra for turbulent porous medium convection, while Nu∼Ra 0.6 for the maximum heat-transporting steady solutions. A key finding is that the lateral scale of the heat-flux-maximising solutions shrinks roughly as L∼Ra−0.5, reminiscent of the decrease of the mean inter-plume spacing observed in turbulent porous medium convection as the thermal forcing is increased. A spatial Floquet analysis is performed to investigate the linear stability of the fully nonlinear steady convective states, extending a recent study by Hewitt et al. (J. Fluid Mech.737, 2013) by treating a base convective state – and secondary stability modes – that satisfy appropriate boundary conditions along plane parallel walls. As in that study, a bulk instability mode is found for sufficiently small aspect-ratio base states. However, the growth rate of this bulk mode is shown to be significantly reduced by the presence of the walls. Beyond a certain critical Ra-dependent aspect-ratio, the base state is most strongly unstable to a secondary mode that is localised near the heated and cooled walls. Direct numerical simulations, strategically initialised to investigate the fully nonlinear evolution of the most dangerous secondary instability modes, suggest that the (long time) mean inter-plume spacing in statistically-steady porous medium convection results from a balance between the competing effects of these two types of instability.

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