Incompressible Rayleigh-Taylor instability experiments are performed using a vertical linear induction motor driven drop tower. A test sled having only vertical freedom of motion contains the experimental tank and visualization equipment. The sled is positioned at the top of the tower and accelerated downward at tremendous speed causing the initially stable interface to become unstable, and resulting in Rayleigh-Taylor instability.


Experiments are performed with and without forced initial perturbations. Perturbations are produced by vertically oscillating the test sled prior to the start of acceleration. Half of the experimental tank is visualized using a 445nm laser light source that illuminates a fluorescent dye mixed in one of the fluids. The other half is illuminated with a white backlight. The resulting images are recorded using a monochromatic high speed video camera. 





Picture of entire drop tower.

The Experimental Fluid Mechanics and Instability Laboratory

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at University of Arizona