The effect on the initial development of Rayleigh-Taylor mixing due to a change in initial conditions has been experimentally studied. A water channel facility at Texas A&M University has been used to provide a statistically steady experiment for the investigation of buoyancy-driven turbulent mixing. Parallel streams of hot and cold water are separated initially by a splitter plate. The streams are oriented in such a way to place cold water above the hot water. Upon the termination of the splitter plate, the two streams are allowed to mix and a buoyancy-driven mixing layer develops. The growth rate of the mixing layer has been experimentally measured using image analysis techniques. Our studies have shown that introducing broadband initial disturbances can have a significant effect on the growth rate of Raleigh-Taylor instabilities, however, the mechanism that controls energy transfer at early time is not clear and requires further investigation.

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