Experiments of Andereck et al. (1986) with corotating cylinders, show that Taylor-vortex flow (TVF) can bifurcate into one of the following cellular flows: wavy vortices (WV), twisted vortices (TW), wavy inflow boundaries (WIB), wavy outflow boundaries (WOB). We describe here the structure of these different flows, showing how they result from simple symmetry breaking. Moreover we consider the codimension-two situation where WIB and WOB interact, since this is an observed physical situation.
The method used in this paper is based on symmetry arguments. It differs notably from the Liapunov-Schmidt reduction used in particular by Golubitsky & Stewart (1986) on the same problem with counter-rotating cylinders. Here we take into account all the dynamics, instead of restricting the study to oscillating solutions. In addition to the standard oscillatory modes, we have a translational mode due to the indeterminacy of TVF under the shifts along the axis. We derive an amplitude-expansion procedure which allows the translational mode to depend on time. Our amplitude equations have nevertheless a simple structure because the oscillatory modes have a precise symmetry. They break, in general, the rotational invariance and they are either symmetric or antisymmetric with respect to the plane z = 0. Moreover, the most typical cases are when either of these modes has the same axial period as TVF or when their axial period is double this. This leads to four different cases which are shown to give WV, TW, WIB or WOB, all these flows being ‘rotating waves’, i.e. they are steady in a suitable rotating frame.
Finally we consider the interaction between WIB and WOB that occurs when, at the onset of instability, the two critical modes arise simultaneously. In this case we show in particular that there may exist a stable quasi-periodic flow bifurcating from WIB or WOB. The two main frequencies are those of underlying WIB and WOB, while there may exist a third frequency corresponding to a slow superposed travelling wave in the axial direction.
The method was used in the counter-rotating case for interacting non-axisymmetric modes (see Chossat et al. 1986). One of the original contributions here is not only to clarify the origin of all observed bifurcations from TVF, but also to handle the translational mode which may not stay small. This technique combined with centre-manifold and equivariance techniques may be helpful for many problems starting with orbits of solutions, such as the TVF considered here.