Computer simulations and experiments on viscous fingering are used to investigate the effects of fluctuations, driving force and anisotropy on the growth of two dimensional unstable interfaces. It is demonstrated that variations of the diffusion-limited aggregation model capture many of the most important features of Laplacian pattern formation. In the viscous fingering experiments carried out in a radial Hele-Shaw cell with nematic or smectic liquid crystals a number of unexpected morphological phase transitions can be observed including crossovers from tip splitting to dendritic growth and from fractal to homogeneous structures. The investigations reviewed here suggest that the role of noise, driving force and anisotropy is crucial in the formation of patterns and it is the complex interplay of these factors which produces the great variety of morphologies found in nature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Mathematical Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics