Bifurcation and secondary bifurcation of heavy periodic hydroelastic travelling waves

P Baldi, J F Toland

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10 Citations (SciVal)


The existence question for two-dimensional symmetric steady waves travelling on the surface of a deep ocean beneath a heavy elastic membrane is analyzed as a problem in bifurcation theory. The behaviour of the two-dimensional cross-section of the membrane is modelled as a thin (unshearable), heavy, hyperelastic extensible rod, and the fluid beneath is supposed to be in steady two-dimensional irrotational motion under gravity. When the wavelength has been normalized to be 2 pi, and when gravity and the density of the undeformed membrane are prescribed, there are two free parameters in the problem: the speed of the wave and the drift velocity of the membrane. It is observed that the problem, when linearized about uniform horizontal flow, has at most two independent solutions for any values of the parameters. When the linearized problem has only one normalized solution, it is shown that the full nonlinear problem has a sheet of solutions consisting of a family of curves bifurcating from simple eigenvalues. Here one of the problem's parameters is used to index a family of bifurcation problems in which the other is the bifurcation parameter. When the linearized problem has two solutions, with wave numbers k and l such that max{k, l}/min{k, l} is not an element of Z, it is shown that there are three two-dimensional sheets of bifurcating solutions. One consists of "special" solutions with minimal period 2 pi/k; another consists of "special" solutions with minimal period 2 pi/l; and the third, apart from those on the curves where it intersects the "special" sheets, consists of "general" solutions with minimal period 2 pi. The two sheets of "special" solutions are rather similar to those that occur when the linearized problem has only one solution. However, points where the first sheet or the second sheet intersects the third sheet are period-multiplying (or symmetry-breaking) secondary bifurcation points on primary branches of "special" solutions. This phenomenon is analogous to that of Wilton ripples, which arises in the classical water-wave problem when the surface tension has special values. In the case of Wilton ripples, the coefficient of surface tension and the wave speed are the problem's two parameters. In the present context, there are two speed parameters, meaning that the membrane elasticity does not need to be highly specified for this symmetry-breaking phenomenon to occur.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInterfaces and Free Boundaries
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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