The evolution of weakly-nonlinear two-layer flow over topography is considered. The governing equations are formulated to consider the effects of quadratic and cubic nonlinearity in the transcritical regime of the internal mode. In the absence of cubic nonlinearity an inhomogeneous Korteweg-de Vries equation describes the interfacial displacement. Numerical solutions of this equation exhibit undular bores or sequences of Boussinesq solitary waves upstream in a transcritical regime. For sufficiently large supercritical Froude numbers, a locally steady flow is attained over the topography. In that regime in which both quadratic and cubic nonlinearity are comparable, the evolution of the interface is described by an inhomogeneous extended Kortewegde Vries (EKdV) equation. This equation displays undular bores upstream in a subcritical regime, but monotonic bores in a transcritical regime. The monotonic bores are solitary wave solutions of the corresponding homogeneous EKdV equation. Again, locally steady flow is attained for sufficiently large supercritical Froude numbers. The predictions of the numerical solutions are compared with laboratory experiments which show good agreement with the solutions of the forced EKdV equation for some range of parameters. It is shown that a recent result of Miles (1986), which predicts an unsteady transcritical regime for single-layer flows, may readily be extended to two-layer flows (described by the forced KdV equation) and is in agreement with the results presented here.
Numerical experiments exploiting the symmetry of the homogeneous EKdV equation show that solitary waves of fixed amplitude but arbitrary length may be generated in systems described by the inhomogeneous EKdV equation.