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Heteroclinic behavior in rotating Rayleigh-Bénard convection


We investigate numerically the appearance of heteroclinic behavior in a three-dimensional, buoyancy-driven fluid layer with stress-free top and bottom boundaries, a square horizontal periodicity with a small aspect ratio, and rotation at low to moderate rates about a vertical axis. The Prandtl number is 6.8. If the rotation is not too slow, the skewed-varicose instability leads from stationary rolls to a stationary mixed-mode solution, which in turn loses stability to a heteroclinic cycle formed by unstable roll states and connections between them. The unstable eigenvectors of these roll states are also of the skewed-varicose or mixed-mode type and in some parameter regions skewed-varicose like shearing oscillations as well as square patterns are involved in the cycle. Always present weak noise leads to irregular horizontal translations of the convection pattern and makes the dynamics chaotic, which is verified by calculating Lyapunov exponents. In the nonrotating case, the primary rolls lose, depending on the aspect ratio, stability to traveling waves or a stationary square pattern. We also study the symmetries of the solutions at the intermittent fixed points in the heteroclinic cycle.

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Received 10 June 1999

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Demircan, A., Scheel, S. & Seehafer, N. Heteroclinic behavior in rotating Rayleigh-Bénard convection. Eur. Phys. J. B 13, 765–775 (2000).

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  • PACS. 47.20.Ky Nonlinearity (including bifurcation theory) - 47.20.Bp Buoyancy-driven instability - 47.32.-y Rotational flow and vorticity - 47.54.+r Pattern selection; pattern formation