Direct simulation Monte Carlo investigation of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability

M. A. Gallis, T. P. Koehler, J. R. Torczynski, S. J. Plimpton, Phys Rev Fluids, 1, 043403 (2016).

The Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI) is investigated using the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method of molecular gas dynamics. Here, fully resolved two-dimensional DSMC RTI simulations are performed to quantify the growth of flat and single-mode perturbed interfaces between two atmospheric-pressure monatomic gases as a function of the Atwood number and the gravitational acceleration. The DSMC simulations reproduce many qualitative features of the growth of the mixing layer and are in reasonable quantitative agreement with theoretical and empirical models in the linear, nonlinear, and self-similar regimes. In some of the simulations at late times, the instability enters the self-similar regime, in agreement with experimental observations. For the conditions simulated, diffusion can influence the initial instability growth significantly.

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