8th European Postgraduate Fluid Dynamics Conference

6th – 9th July 2016
Warsaw, Poland

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Investigation of transition to asymmetry in pipe flow of shear-thinning fluids

Chaofan Wen1, Robert J. Poole1, David J.C. Dennis1
1School of Engineering, University of Liverpool
Previous studies of shear-thinning fluids in pipe flow discovered that, although the time-averaged velocity profile was axisymmetric when the flow was laminar or fully turbulent, contrary to expectations it was asymmetric in the laminar-turbulent transition regime. We reveal that the asymmetry is not induced by the transition process, but is an instability of the laminar base state. Furthermore, the transition process is responsible for returning symmetry to the flow, which explains why the fully turbulent case is axisymmetric. The deviation from the axisymmetric laminar state is observed to develop in the form of a supercritical bifurcation with square-root dependence on Reynolds number. The asymmetry is non-hysteretic and reversible, not only having a favoured location, but a preferred route between axisymmetry and asymmetry. We also observed the greater the shear-thinning ability, the stronger the fluid asymmetry will appear
Keywords: Wall-bounded flows, Instability, Experimental techniques
Figure 1: Transition from axisymmetry to asymmetry: the asymmetry indicated by \(\alpha \) and \(r_{p}/D\) grows in form of a supercritical bifurcaiton with square-root dependence on Reynolds number \(Re_{w}\) before the appearance of turbulent spots at \(Re_{w}\sim \)8000