Capillary Rollers and Bores

  • Michael S. Longuet-Higgins
Part of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics book series (IUTAM)


A very intriguing phenomenon, which throws much light on the small-scale structure of the sea surface, is the occurrence of “parasitic capillaries” on the forward face of moderately short gravity waves, especially those with wavelengths 5 to 50 cm; see Figure la. These capillary waves were first studied experimentally by Cox (1958). Evidently their existence depends on the fact that a gravity wave and a much shorter capillary wave may have the same phase speed. The dynamical theory of the generation of parasitic capillaries has been developed by Longuet-Higgins (1963), Crapper (1970) and Ruvinsky et al. (1981, 1985, 1991). This so far takes into account only the first-order effects of viscous damping.


Gravity Wave Wave Train Phase Speed Wave Crest Capillary Wave 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Longuet-Higgins
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Nonlinear ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego La JollaUSA

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