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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Dynamics Of Layered And Non-Layered Oscillatory Double-Diffusive Convection

  • Author(s): Moll, Ryan
  • Advisor(s): Garaud, Pascale
  • et al.

Oscillatory double diffusive convection (ODDC) is a double diffusive instability that occurs in fluids that are unstably stratified in temperature and stably stratified in chemical composition. Regions unstable to ODDC are common in the interiors of stars and giant planets, and knowing thermal and compositional transport through these regions is important for stellar and planetary evolution models. Using 3D direct numerical simulations, Rosenblum et al. 2011 first showed that ODDC can either lead to the spontaneous formation of convective layers, or remain in a state dominated by large scale gravity waves. Subsequent studies focused on identifying the conditions for layer formation (Mirouh et al. 2012), and quantifying transport through layered systems (Wood et al. 2013). This document includes 3 works that build on the results of these earlier studies. The subject of the first is transport through non-layered ODDC and shows that in the absence of layered convection, ODDC is dominated by large scale gravity waves that grow to the size of the domain. We find that while these gravity waves induce small amounts of turbulent mixing, turbulent transport through non-layered systems is not significant for the purposes of astrophysical modeling (unlike in layered convection). The second study pertains to ODDC in the presence of Coriolis forces, and shows that rotating systems can be categorized depending on the strength of the rotation. We find that in the slowly rotating regime, the presence of rotation does not significantly affect qualitative behavior, but leads to modest reductions in thermal and compositional transport, while in the fast rotation regime qualitative behaviors are radically different, and systems are dominated by vortices that affect thermal and compositional transport in complex ways. In the final work we study simulations of ODDC at non-layered parameters that are forced into a layered configuration by initial conditions. Our results show that measurements of thermal and compositional transport deviate from values predicted by oft-cited geophysical transport laws.

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