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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Experimental investigation of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability Popil, Roman


The Rayleigh-Taylor instability of a water-air interface was investigated using electrical and photographic methods. An apparatus is described which accelerates a rectangular tank of water downwards and produces reproducible instabilities from a pure sinusoidal standing surface water wave of known phase and amplitude. The electrical measurements revealed that in addition to the bulk motion, films of water are produced on the walls of the water tank. The existence of these and other features of the instability are substantiated by photographs of the various instabilities that were produced. The electrical measurements led to a new scaling law for the phenomenon of climbing fluid films at accelerations greater than gravity. Several linear devices were also developed for measuring the amplitudes of surface water waves.

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