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Numerical investigation of controlling interfacial instabilities in non-standard Hele-Shaw configurations

  • Liam C. Morrow (a1), Timothy J. Moroney (a1) and Scott W. McCue (a1)


Viscous fingering experiments in Hele-Shaw cells lead to striking pattern formations which have been the subject of intense focus among the physics and applied mathematics community for many years. In recent times, much attention has been devoted to devising strategies for controlling such patterns and reducing the growth of the interfacial fingers. We continue this research by reporting on numerical simulations, based on the level set method, of a generalised Hele-Shaw model for which the geometry of the Hele-Shaw cell is altered. First, we investigate how imposing constant and time-dependent injection rates in a Hele-Shaw cell that is either standard, tapered or rotating can be used to reduce the development of viscous fingering when an inviscid fluid is injected into a viscous fluid over a finite time period. We perform a series of numerical experiments comparing the effectiveness of each strategy to determine how these non-standard Hele-Shaw configurations influence the morphological features of the inviscid–viscous fluid interface. Surprisingly, a converging or diverging taper of the plates leads to reduced metrics of viscous fingering at the final time when compared to the standard parallel configuration, especially with carefully chosen injection rates; for the rotating plate case, the effect is even more dramatic, with sufficiently large rotation rates completely stabilising the interface. Next, we illustrate how the number of non-splitting fingers can be controlled by injecting the inviscid fluid at a time-dependent rate while increasing the gap between the plates. Our simulations compare well with previous experimental results for various injection rates and geometric configurations. We demonstrate how the number of non-splitting fingers agrees with that predicted from linear stability theory up to some finger number; for larger values of our control parameter, the fully nonlinear dynamics of the problem leads to slightly fewer fingers than this linear prediction.


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Numerical investigation of controlling interfacial instabilities in non-standard Hele-Shaw configurations

  • Liam C. Morrow (a1), Timothy J. Moroney (a1) and Scott W. McCue (a1)


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