Clustering of salt fingers in double-diffusive convection leads to staircaselike stratification

Francesco Paparella, Jost Von Hardenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report on high-resolution, three-dimensional, high Rayleigh number, and low density ratio numerical simulations of fingering convection. We observe a previously unreported phenomenon of self-organization of fingers that cluster together to form larger-scale coherent structures. The flow ultimately forms density staircases, alternating well-mixed regions with fingering convective zones. We give evidence that the mechanical mixing induced by the clusters forms the staircases with a mechanism analogous to staircase formation in a stably stratified, nonconvective, stirred fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 6 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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