Observation of dual-mode, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability vortex merger in a compressible flow

W. C. Wan, G. Malamud, A. Shimony, C. A. Di Stefano, M. R. Trantham, S. R. Klein, D. Shvarts, R. P. Drake, C. C. Kuranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We report the first observations of Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices evolving from well-characterized, dual-mode initial conditions in a steady, supersonic flow. The results provide the first measurements of the instability's vortex merger rate and supplement data on the inhibition of the instability's growth rate in a compressible flow. These experimental data were obtained by sustaining a shockwave over a foam-plastic interface with a precision-machined seed perturbation. This technique produced a strong shear layer between two plasmas at high-energy-density conditions. The system was diagnosed using x-ray radiography and was well-reproduced using hydrodynamic simulations. Experimental measurements imply that we observed the anticipated vortex merger rate and growth inhibition for supersonic shear flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055705
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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