Two-dimensional blast-wave-driven Rayleigh-Taylor instability: Experiment and simulation

C. C. Kuranz, R. P. Drake, E. C. Harding, M. J. Grosskopf, H. F. Robey, B. A. Remington, M. J. Edwards, A. R. Miles, T. S. Perry, B. E. Blue, T. Plewa, N. C. Hearn, J. P. Knauer, D. Arnett, D. R. Leibrandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This paper shows results from experiments diagnosing the development of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability with two-dimensional initial conditions at an embedded, decelerating interface. Experiments are performed at the Omega Laser and use ∼5 kJ of energy to create a planar blast wave in a dense, plastic layer that is followed by a lower density foam layer. The single-mode interface has a wavelength of 50 μm and amplitude of 2.5 μm. Some targets are supplemented with additional modes. The interface is shocked then decelerated by the foam layer. This initially produces the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability followed and then dominated by Rayleigh-Taylor growth that quickly evolves into the nonlinear regime. The experimental conditions are scaled to be hydrodynamically similar to SN1987A in order to study the instabilities that are believed to occur at the He/H interface during the blast-wave-driven explosion phase of the star. Simulations of the experiment were performed using the FLASH hydrodynamics code.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-759
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Instabilities
  • Plasmas
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 1987A)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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