A controlled perturbation is introduced into the Saffman-Taylor flow problem by adding a gradient to the gap of a Hele-Shaw cell. The stability of the single-finger steady state was found to be strongly affected by such a perturbation. Compared with patterns in a standard Hele-Shaw cell, the single Saffman-Taylor finger was stabilized or destabilized according to the sign of the gap gradient. While a linear stability analysis shows that this perturbation should have a negligible effect on the early-stage pattern formation, the experimental data indicate that the characteristic length for the initial breakup of a flat interface has been changed by the perturbation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics