We present complementary numerical and asymptotic studies of the flow over a heated, semi-infinite flat plate for a fluid with temperature-dependent viscosity. Liquid-type viscosities are found to entrain both the velocity and temperature profiles closer to the plate with increasing temperature sensitivity; gas-type viscosities are found to exhibit the reverse effect. A linear stability analysis is presented and we find that increasing the temperature dependence of the fluid (from gas- to liquid-type behaviour) results in an increased critical Reynolds number to a point of maximum stability. Using an energy-balance approach, we determine that this behaviour is primarily driven by the inviscid instability of the modified steady flow, rather than being a result of modified viscous instability effects. Application and extension of the results are considered in the context of Chemical Vapour Deposition.
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