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A wave equation, that governs nite amplitude acoustic disturbances in a thermoviscous Newtonian fluid, and includes nonlinear terms up to second order, is proposed. In contrast to the model known as the Kuznetsov equation, the proposed nonlinear wave equation preserves the Hamiltonian structure of the fundamental fluid dynamical equations in the non-dissipative limit. An exact traveling front solution is obtained from a generalized traveling wave assumption. This solution is, in an overall sense, equivalent to the Taylor shock solution of the Burgers equation. However, in contrast to the Burgers equation, the model equation considered here is capable to describe waves propagating in opposite directions. Owing to the Hamiltonian structure of the proposed model equation, the front solution is in agreement with the classical Rankine Hugoniot relations. The exact front solution propagates at supersonic speed with respect to the fluid ahead of it, and subsonic speed with respect to the fluid behind it, similarly to the fluid dynamical shock. Linear stability analysis reveals that the front is stable when the acoustic pressure belongs to a critical interval, and is otherwise unstable. These results are veried numerically. Studies of head-on colliding fronts demonstrate that the front propagation speed changes upon collision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
StatePublished - 2008


  • thermoviscous fluids, Rankine-Hugoniot relations, travelling fronts, shocks
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ID: 3122389