On the stability of plane viscoelastic shear flows in the limit of infinite Weissenberg and Reynolds numbers
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Elastic effects on the hydrodynamic instability of inviscid parallel shear flows are investigated through a linear stability analysis. We focus on the upper convected Maxwell model in the limit of infinite Weissenberg and Reynolds numbers. Specifically, we study the effects of elasticity on the instability of a few classes of simple parallel flows, specifically plane Poiseuille and Couette flows, the hyperbolic-tangent shear layer and the Bickley jet. The equation for stability is derived and solved numerically using the Chebyshev collocation spectral method. This algorithm is computationally efficient and accurate in reproducing the eigenvalues. We consider flows bounded by walls as well as flows bounded by free surfaces. In the inviscid, nonelastic case all the flows we study are unstable for free surfaces. In the case of wall bounded flow, there are instabilities in the shear layer and Bickley jet flows. In all cases, the effect of elasticity is to reduce and ultimately suppress the inviscid instability. The numerical solutions are compared with the analysis of the long wave limit and excellent agreement is shown between the analytical and the numerical solutions. We found flows which are long wave stable, but nevertheless unstable to wave numbers in a certain finite range. While elasticity is ultimately stabilizing, this effect is not monotone; there are instances where a small amount of elasticity actually destabilizes the flow. The linear stability in the short wave limit of shear flows bounded by two parallel free surfaces is investigated. Unlike the plane Couette flow which has no short wave instability, we show that plane Poiseuille flow has two unstable eigenmodes localized near the free surfaces which can be combined into an even and an odd eigenfunctions. The derivation of the asymptotics of these modes shows that our numerical eigenvalues are in agreement with the analytic formula and that the difference between the two eigenvalues tends to zero exponentially with the wavenumber.
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