J. Fluid Mech 777 (2015) 604-632. doi:10.1017/jfm.2015.388

Can weakly nonlinear theory explain Faraday wave patterns near onset?

A.C.Skeldon(1) and A.M.Rucklidge(1)

(1) Department of Mathematics,
University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK

(2) Department of Applied Mathematics,
University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract. The Faraday problem is an important pattern-forming system that provides some middle ground between systems where the initial instability involves just a single mode and in which complexity then results from mode interactions or secondary bifurcations, and cases where a system is highly turbulent and many spatial and temporal modes are excited. It has been a rich source of novel patterns and of theoretical work aimed at understanding how and why such patterns occur. Yet it is particularly challenging to tie theory to experiment: the experiments are difficult to perform; the parameter regime of interest (large box, moderate viscosity) along with the technical difficulties of solving the free boundary Navier-Stokes equations make numerical solution of the problem hard; and the fact that the instabilities result in an entire circle of unstable wavevectors presents considerable theoretical difficulties.

In principle, weakly nonlinear theory should be able to predict which patterns are stable near pattern onset. In this paper we present results from a quantitative comparison between weakly nonlinear theory of the Navier-Stokes equations and previously published experimental results for the Faraday problem. The extent to which proposed theoretical mechanisms that show how three-wave interactions can stabilise complex patterns, including quasipatterns, are supported by the comparison is discussed and discrepancies are highlighted.

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