Observation of star-shaped surface gravity waves

Jean Rajchenbach
Université de Nice
We report a new type of standing gravity waves of large amplitude, having alternatively the shape of a star and of a polygon. This wave is observed by means of a laboratory experiment by vibrating vertically a tank. The symmetry of the star (i.e. the number of branches) is independent of the container form and size, and can be changed according to the amplitude and frequency of the vibration. We show that this wave geometry results from nonlinear resonant couplings between three waves, although this possibility was denied for pure gravity waves up to now.