Dynamic stabilization of the Rayleigh-Bénard instability by acceleration modulation

Anand Swaminathan, Steven L. Garrett, Matthew E. Poese, Robert W.M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation of the parametric stabilization of Rayleigh-Bénard convection through the imposition of sinusoidal vibration. The ability to dynamically stabilize Rayleigh-Bénard convection using acceleration modulation is of interest to groups who design and study thermoacoustic machines as the introduction of parasitic convection can have deleterious effects on the desired operation and thermodynamic efficiency of the device. These performance issues caused by suspected convective instability have been seen both in traveling wave thermoacoustic refrigerators and cryogenic pulse tube chillers. This paper reports the results of an experiment intended to determine the vibratory, fluidic, and geometric conditions under which a small, rectangular container of statically unstable fluid may be stabilized by vertical vibration with comparison to the computational methods of R. M. Carbo [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135, 654-668 (2014)]. Measurements are obtained using a large-displacement kinematic shaker of an original design with the convecting gas characterized using both thermal transport measurements and flow visualization employing tracer particles illuminated by a diode laser light sheet phase-locked to the shaker. These experiments are believed to be the first demonstrating the suppression of convection through vibration in rectangular containers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2343
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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