The dynamics of thermal ripples at the interface of a volatile pure liquid (C2H5OH) is studied experimentally and numerically. Liquid evaporates under a flow of inert gas (N2) circulating along the interface. The evaporation rate is varied by regulating both the gas flow rate and the gas pressure. Experiments in microgravity environment allowed to identify a transition to “interfacial turbulence,” along which some particular events such as nearly periodic and possible intermittent behaviors. Direct numerical simulations have been performed, and compare qualitatively well with experimental results, offering new insights into the physical mechanisms involved. Small-scale ripples appear to arise from a secondary instability of large-scale convection cells and their motion seems to follow the corresponding large-scale surface flow. The relative role of surface tension and buoyancy in triggering these flows is assessed by comparing experiments and simulations in both microgravity and ground conditions. Qualitative features compare satisfactorily well such as typical speed and orientation of the thermal ripples, as well as spiral flow in the bulk.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 10, 2011
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