Indexed on: 15 Mar '03Published on: 15 Mar '03Published in: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
A weakly nonlinear theory has been developed for the classical Rayleigh-Taylor instability with a finite bandwidth taken into account self-consistently. The theory includes up to third order nonlinearity, which results in the saturation of linear growth and determines subsequent weakly nonlinear growth. Analytical results are shown to agree fairly well with two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. There are generally many local peaks of a perturbation with a finite bandwidth due to the interference of modes. Since a local amplitude is determined from phases among the modes as well as the bandwidth, we have investigated an onset of the linear growth saturation and the subsequent weakly nonlinear growth for different bandwidths and phases. It is shown that the saturation of the linear growth occurs locally, i.e., each of the local maximum amplitudes (LMAs) grows exponentially until it reaches almost the same saturation amplitude. In the random phase case, the root mean square amplitude thus saturates with almost the same amplitude as the LMA, after most of the LMAs have saturated. The saturation amplitude of the LMA is found to be independent of the bandwidth and depends on the Atwood number. We derive a formula of the saturation amplitude of modes based on the results obtained, and discuss its relation with Haan's formula [Phys. Rev. A 39, 5812 (1989)]. The LMAs grow linearly in time after the saturation and their speeds are approximated by the product of the linear growth rate and the saturation amplitude. We investigate the Atwood number dependence of both the saturation amplitude and the weakly nonlinear growth.