Effect of Rotation on Fingering Convection in astrophysical environments
Sutirtha Sengupta (UC Santa Cruz)
August 27, 2018
Abstract: We study the effects of rotation on the growth and saturation of the double-diffusive fingering (thermohaline) instability at low Prandtl number. Using direct numerical simulations, we estimate the compositional transport rates as a function of the relevant nondimensional parameters-the Rossby number, inversely proportional to the rotation rate, and the density ratio that measures the relative thermal and compositional stratifications. Within our explored range of parameters, we generally find rotation to have little effect on vertical transport. However, we also present one exceptional case where a cyclonic large-scale vortex (LSV) is observed at low density ratio and fairly low Rossby number. The LSV leads to significant enhancement in the fingering transport rates by concentrating compositionally dense downflows at its core. We argue that the formation of such LSVs could be relevant to solving the missing-mixing problem in RGB stars and possibly in giant planets.