Rayleigh-Bénard and Marangoni convection in a layer of a homogeneous fluid with a free surface in the absence of phase change is a classic (and extensively studied) problem of fluid mechanics. Phase change has a major effect on the convection problem. Most notably, significant latent heat generated at the free surface as a result of phase change can dramatically alter the interfacial temperature, and hence, the thermocapillary stresses. Furthermore, differential evaporation in binary fluids can lead to considerable variation in the concentration field, producing solutocapillarity stresses, which can compete with thermocapillarity and buoyancy.
This talk describes numerical studies of convection in alcohol and alcohol-water mixtures due to a horizontal temperature gradient in the presence of phase change. We illustrate how the composition of the liquid and the presence of non-condensable gases (e.g., air) can be used to alter the balance of the dominant forces. In particular, by adding or removing air from the test cell, the direction of the flow can be reversed by emphasizing either the thermocapillary or the solutocapillary stresses.