Hybrid ferrohydrodynamic instability: Coexisting peak and labyrinthine patterns

Ching-Yao Chen*, W. K. Tsai, José A. Miranda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We present an experimental study of a different pattern-forming instability occurring when a ferrofluid droplet is immersed in a thin layer of a nonmagnetic fluid, and subjected to a uniform perpendicular magnetic field. The formation of intriguing interfacial structures is observed, and the development of a hybrid-type ferrohydrodynamic instability is verified, where peak and labyrinthine ferrofluid patterns coexist and share a coupled dynamic evolution. Based on our experimental findings we have identified the occurrence of three well defined regimes for the evolution of the miscible Rosensweig peak in which it first grows rapidly, and then gradually decays, to ultimately reimmerse into the surrounding nonmagnetic solvent layer. This unique scenario for the rise and fall of the Rosensweig peak implies the simultaneous emergence of peculiar labyrinthine structures induced by an outward radial flow within the thin nonmagnetic layer. A variety of possible morphologies is revealed (labyrinth, broken tentaclelike fingers, etc.), which result from the interplay between magnetic, diffusive, and convective effects. These free surface flow labyrinthine structures are contrasted to alternative interfacial designs obtained when the experimental system is spatially confined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056306
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 12 May 2008

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