This paper studies the dynamics of an incompressible fluid driven by gravity and capillarity forces in a porous medium. The main interest is the stabilization of the fluid in Rayleigh-Taylor unstable situations where the fluid lays on top of a dry region. An important feature considered here is that the layer of fluid is under an impervious wall. This physical situation has been widely study by mean of thin film approximations in the case of small characteristic high of the fluid considering its strong interaction with the fixed boundary. Here, instead of considering any simplification leading to asymptotic models, we deal with the complete free boundary problem. We prove that, if the fluid interface is smaller than an explicit constant, the solution is global in time and it becomes instantly analytic. In particular, the fluid does not form drops in finite time. Our results are stated in terms of Wiener spaces for the interface together with some non-standard Wiener-Sobolev anisotropic spaces required to describe the regularity of the fluid pressure and velocity. These Wiener-Sobolev spaces are of independent interest as they can be useful in other problems. Finally, let us remark that our techniques do not rely on the irrotational character of the fluid in the bulk and they can be applied to other free boundary problems.
Cite this article
Rafael Granero-Belinchón, Francisco Gancedo, Stefano Scrobogna, Surface tension stabilization of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability for a fluid layer in a porous medium. Ann. Inst. H. Poincaré Anal. Non Linéaire 37 (2020), no. 6, pp. 1299–1343DOI 10.1016/J.ANIHPC.2020.04.005