Modeling the dynamics of a free boundary on turbulent thermal convection

Jin Qiang Zhong, Jun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on our previous experimental study, we present a one-dimensional phenomenological model of a thermal blanket floating on the upper surface of a thermally convecting fluid. The model captures the most important interactions between the floating solid and the fluid underneath. By the thermal blanketing effect, the presence of the solid plate modifies the flow structure below; in turn, the flow exerts a viscous drag that causes the floating boundary to move. An oscillatory state and a trapped state are found in this model, which is in excellent agreement with experimental observations. The model also offers details on the transition between the states, and gives useful insights on this coupled system without the need for full-scale simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016307
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 16 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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