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Published August 1980 | Published
Journal Article Open

Vortex simulations of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability


A vortex technique capable of calculating the Rayleigh–Taylor instability to large amplitudes in inviscid, incompressible, layered flows is introduced. The results show the formation of a steady‐state bubble at large times, whose velocity is in agreement with the theory of Birkhoff and Carter. It is shown that the spike acceleration can exceed free fall, as suggested recently by Menikoff and Zemach. Results are also presented for instability at various Atwood ratios and for fluids having several layers.

Additional Information

© 1980 American Institute of Physics. Received 3 December 1979; accepted 9 May 1980. We would like to thank Dr. R. L. McCrory, Dr. R. Menikoff, and Dr. C. Zemach for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory which is supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, by the Office of the Naval Research under Contract No. N00014-77-C-0138, and by the National Science Foundation under Grant ATM-7817092. The high resolution calculations reported in Sec. III were performed at the Computing Facility of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, which is supported by the National Science Foundation.

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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023