Numerical computation of solitary waves in a two-layer fluid

H. C. Woolfenden, E. I. Pǎrǎu

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We consider steady two-dimensional flow in a two-layer fluid under the effects of gravity and surface tension. The upper fluid is bounded above by a free surface and the lower fluid is bounded below by a rigid bottom. We assume the fluids to be inviscid and the flow to be irrotational in each layer. Solitary wave solutions are found to the fully nonlinear problem using a boundary integral method based on the Cauchy integral formula. The behaviour of the solitary waves on the interface and free surface is determined by the density ratio of the two fluids, the fluid depth ratio, the Froude number and the Bond numbers. The dispersion relation obtained for the linearized equations demonstrates the presence of two modes: a ‘slow’ mode and a ‘fast’ mode. When a sufficiently strong surface tension is present only on the free surface, there is a region, or ‘gap’, between the two modes where no linear periodic waves are found. In-phase and out-of-phase solitary waves are computed in this spectral gap. Damped oscillations appear in the tails of the solitary waves when the value of the free-surface Bond number is either sufficiently small or large. The out-of-phase waves broaden as the Froude number tends towards a critical value. When surface tension is present on both surfaces, out-of-phase solitary waves are computed. Damped oscillations occur in the tails of the waves when the interfacial Bond number is sufficiently small. Oppositely oriented solitary waves are shown to coexist for identical parameter values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-550
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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