Rayleigh-Taylor mixing in supernova experiments

N. C. Swisher, C. C. Kuranz, D. Arnett, O. Hurricane, B. A. Remington, H. F. Robey, S. I. Abarzhi

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39 Scopus citations


We report a scrupulous analysis of data in supernova experiments that are conducted at high power laser facilities in order to study core-collapse supernova SN1987A. Parameters of the experimental system are properly scaled to investigate the interaction of a blast-wave with helium-hydrogen interface, and the induced Rayleigh-Taylor instability and Rayleigh-Taylor mixing of the denser and lighter fluids with time-dependent acceleration. We analyze all available experimental images of the Rayleigh-Taylor flow in supernova experiments and measure delicate features of the interfacial dynamics. A new scaling is identified for calibration of experimental data to enable their accurate analysis and comparisons. By properly accounting for the imprint of the experimental conditions, the data set size and statistics are substantially increased. New theoretical solutions are reported to describe asymptotic dynamics of Rayleigh-Taylor flow with time-dependent acceleration by applying theoretical analysis that considers symmetries and momentum transport. Good qualitative and quantitative agreement is achieved of the experimental data with the theory and simulations. Our study indicates that in supernova experiments Rayleigh-Taylor flow is in the mixing regime, the interface amplitude contributes substantially to the characteristic length scale for energy dissipation; Rayleigh-Taylor mixing keeps order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102707
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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