The onset of convective instability is investigated in a multicomponent fluid layer in which the density depends on N stratifying agencies with different diffusivities. The general equations required to determine the topology of the neutral curves and stability boundaries are given. We show that 1 + 2 [(N - 1)/2] (where [α] is the integer part of α) critical Rayleigh numbers are sometimes required to specify the linear stability criteria. This multivaluedness can be traced to the existence of disconnected neutral curves. The general theory is illustrated by a numerical example for the quintuply diffusive case (N = 5).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Physics of Fluids A|
|State||Published - 1989|
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