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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Pattern Formation in Fluid Mechanics

The onset of cells in Taylor-Couette flow

Author: Mullin, T (University of Manchester)


Taylor--Couette flow between concentric rotating cylinders has been extensively studied over the past eighty years as an example of a bifurcation in fluid mechanics. Modern investigations provide an opportunity for establishing quantitative connections between the results of observations and those obtained from numerical simulations of the Navier Stokes equations on realistic boundary conditions. This combined numerical and experimental approach has been used to study the onset of steady cellular motion. The surprising result uncovered is that the bifurcation in the physical system is different in origin from the one assumed in most mathematical models.