The stability of the laminar co-current flow of two fluids, oil and water, in a rectangular channel was investigated experimentally, with and without artificial excitation. For the ratio of viscosity explored, only the disturbances in water grew in the beginning stages of transition to turbulence. The critical water Reynolds number, based upon the hydraulic diameter of the channel and the superficial velocity defined by the ratio of flow rate of water to total cross-sectional area of the channel, was found to be 2300. The behaviour of damped and growing shear waves in water was examined in detail using artificial excitation and briefly compared with that observed in Part 1. Mean flow profiles, the amplitude distribution of disturbances in water, the amplification rate, wave speed and wavenumbers were obtained. A neutral stability boundary in the wave-number, water Reynolds number plane was also obtained experimentally.
It was found that in natural transition the interfacial mode was not excited. The first appearance of interfacial waves was actually a manifestation of the shear waves in water. The role of the interface in the transition range from laminar to turbulent flow in water was to introduce and enhance spanwise oscillation in the water phase and to hasten the process of breakdown for growing disturbances.