The propagation and basal solidification of two-dimensional and axisymmetric viscous gravity currents

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The effect of basal solidification on viscous gravity currents is analysed using continuum models. A Stefan condition for basal solidification is incorporated into the Navier-Stokes equations. A simplified version of this model is determined in the lubrication and large-Bond-number limit. Asymptotic solutions are obtained in three parameter regimes. (i) A similarity solution is possible in the following cases: the two-dimensional problem when volume per unit length (V) is proportional to time (t) raised to the power 7/4(V = qt(7/4)) and the Julian number (v(3) g(2)/q(4)) is large, where v is kinematic viscosity, q is a constant of proportionality and g is the acceleration due to gravity; the axisymmetric problem when volume is proportional to time raised to the power 3 (V = Qt(3)) and the dimensionless group vg/Q is large, where Q is a constant of proportionality. In both cases, the front is found to depend on time raised to the power 5/4, as it does in the absence of solidification, but the constant of proportionality satisfies a modified system of equations. (ii) In the case of large Stefan number and small modified Peclet number (Pedelta(2) much less than 1, where Pe is the Peclet number and delta is the aspect ratio), asymptotic and numerical methods are combined to produce the most revealing results. The temperature of the fluid approaches the melting point over a short time-scale. Over the long time-scale, the solid/liquid interface is determined from the conduction of latent heat into the solid. Strong coupling is observed with the basal solidification modifying the flow at leading order. The solidification may retard and eventually arrest the front motion long before complete phase change has taken place. (iii) In the case of constant volume and large modified Peclet number (Pedelta(2) much greater than 1), similarity solutions are found for the solidification at the base of the gravity current on the short time-scale. The coupling is weak on this time-scale with the solidification being dependent on the front position but not influencing the fluid motion at leading order. Over the long time-scale, the drop completely solidifies. Analytical solutions are not obtained on this time-scale, but scalings are deduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Engineering Mathematics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004


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