Simulations of three-layer Richtmyer-Meshkov mixing in a shock tube

James D. Sadler, Philip D. Powell, Mark Schalles, Carlton Louie, Jeffrey W. Jacobs, Ye Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Richtmyer-Meshkov instability causes perturbations to grow after a shock traverses a fluid density interface. This increases the mixing rate between fluid from either side of the interface. We use the Flash Eulerian hydrodynamic code to investigate alterations when a thin third layer of intermediate density is placed along the interface, effectively creating two adjacent unstable interfaces. This is a common occurrence in engineering applications where a thin barrier initially separates two materials. We find that the width of the mixing layer is similar or slightly reduced; however, the total mass of mixed material can actually increase. The mixing layer becomes more compact and efficient. However, the normalized mixed mass decreases, meaning that finger entrainment becomes more important than in the simple two-layer case. The effect of adding the central layer appears to decrease when the Atwood number is decreased. The Flash results are also benchmarked against two-layer experimental data from a shock tube at the University of Arizona.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014120
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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