Experimental Rayleigh-Taylor instability in a circular tube

J. W. Jacobs, A. Bunster, I. Catton, M. S. Plesset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Rayleigh-Taylor instability of an air-water system has been investigated experimentally. The instability was produced by accelerating a slug of water down a vertical circular tube of 6.25 in. inside diameter employing a pressure differential. Accelerations from 3 to 25 times gravitational acceleration with fluid depths from 5 to 20 centimeters were studied. The disturbances first observed were purely axisym-metric with wave numbers corresponding closely to the fastest growing values given by linear theory. Later stages of planform development were characterized by a series of transitions which cannot be predicted by linear theory. These transitions were correlated with disturbance height.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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