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Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Fluid Mechanics Année : 2015

Microwave-heating laboratory experiments for planetary mantle convection


Thermal evolution of telluric planets is mainly controlled by secular cooling and internal heating due to the decay of radioactive isotopes, two processes that are equivalent from the standpoint of convection dynamics. In a fluid cooled from above and volumetrically heated, convection is dominated by instabilities of the top boundary layer and the interior thermal structure is non-isentropic. Here we present innovative laboratory experiments where microwave radiation is used to generate uniform internal heat in fluids at high Prandtl number (>300) and high Rayleigh–Roberts number (ranging from 104 to 107), appropriate for planetary mantle convection. Non-invasive techniques are employed to determine both temperature and velocity fields. We successfully validate the experimental results by conducting numerical simulations in three-dimensional Cartesian geometry that reproduce the experimental conditions. Scaling laws relating key characteristics of the thermal boundary layer, namely its thickness and temperature drop, to the Rayleigh–Roberts number have been established for both rigid and free-slip boundary conditions. A robust conclusion is that for rigid boundary conditions the internal temperature is significantly higher than for free-slip boundary conditions. Our scaling laws, coupled with plausible physical parameters entering the Rayleigh–Roberts number, enable us to calculate the mantle potential temperature for the Earth and Venus, two telluric planets with different mechanical boundary conditions at their surface.


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Dates et versions

hal-01183964 , version 1 (12-08-2015)



Angela Limare, Kenny Vilella, Erika Di Giuseppe, Cinzia G. Farnetania, Edward R Kaminski, et al.. Microwave-heating laboratory experiments for planetary mantle convection. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2015, 777, pp.50- 67. ⟨10.1017/jfm.2015.347⟩. ⟨hal-01183964⟩
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