It has been proposed to protect the structural walls of a future laser fusion reactor with a curtain or fluid-wall of liquid lithium jets. As part of the investigation of this concept, experiments have been performed on planar sheet water jets issuing vertically downward from slit nozzles. The nozzles were subjected to transverse forced harmonic excitation to simulate the vibrational environment of the laser fusion reactor, and experiments were run at both 1 atm and at lower ambient pressures. Linear stability theory is shown to predict the onset of the unstable regime and the initial spatial growth rates quite well for cases where the amplitudes of the nozzle vibration are not too large and the waveform is nearly sinusoidal. In addition, both the linear theory and a simplified trajectory theory are shown to predict the initial wave envelope amplitudes very well. For larger amplitude nozzle excitation, the waveform becomes highly nonlinear and nonsinusoidal and can resemble a sawtooth waveform in some cases; these latter experimental results can only be partially explained by existing theories at the present time.

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