Periodic boundary motion in thermal turbulence

Jun Zhang, Albert Libchaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A free-floating plate is introduced in a Bénard convection cell with an open surface. It partially covers the cell and distorts the local heat flux, inducing a coherent flow that in turn moves the plate. Remarkably, the plate can be driven to a periodic motion even under the action of a turbulent fluid. The period of the oscillation depends on the coverage ratio, and on the Rayleigh number of the convective system. The plate oscillatory behavior observed in this experiment may be related to a geological model, in which continents drift in a quasiperiodic fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4361-4364
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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