Interacting oscillatory boundary layers and wall modes in modulated rotating convection

A. Rubio, J. M. Lopez, F. Marques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Thermal convection in a rotating cylinder near onset is investigated using direct numerical simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations with the Boussinesq approximation in a regime dominated by the Coriolis force. For thermal driving too small to support convection throughout the entire cell, convection sets in as alternating pairs of hot and cold plumes in the sidewall boundary layer, the so-called wall modes of rotating convection. We subject the wall modes to small amplitude harmonic modulations of the rotation rate over a wide range of frequencies. The modulations produce harmonic Ekman boundary layers at the top and bottom lids as well as a Stokes boundary layer at the sidewall. These boundary layers drive a time-periodic large-scale circulation that interacts with the wall-localized thermal plumes in a non-trivial manner. The resultant phenomena include a substantial shift in the onset of wall-mode convection to higher temperature differences for a broad band of frequencies, as well as a significant alteration of the precession rate of the wall mode at very high modulation frequencies due to the mean azimuthal streaming flow resulting from the modulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-96
Number of pages22
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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