Nonlinear hydroelastic waves on a linear shear current at finite depth

Tao Gao, Zhan Wang, Paul Milewski

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This work is concerned with waves propagating on water of finite depth with a constant-vorticity current under a deformable flexible sheet. The pressure exerted by the sheet is modelled by using the Cosserat thin shell theory. By means of multi-scale analysis, small amplitude nonlinear modulation equations in several regimes are considered, including the nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLS) which is used to predict the existence of small-amplitude wavepacket solitary waves in the full Euler equations and to study the modulational instability of quasi-monochromatic wavetrains. Guided by these weakly nonlinear results, fully nonlinear steady and time-dependent computations are performed by employing a conformal mapping technique. Bifurcation mechanisms and typical profiles of solitary waves for different underlying shear currents are presented in detail. It is shown that even when small-amplitude solitary waves are not predicted by the weakly nonlinear theory, we can numerically find large-amplitude solitary waves in the fully nonlinear equations. Time-dependent simulations are carried out to confirm the modulational stability results and illustrate possible outcomes of the nonlinear evolution in unstable cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-86
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date31 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


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