Three-dimensional swirling flows in a tall cylinder driven by a rotating endwall

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22 Scopus citations


The onset and nonlinear dynamics of swirling flows in relatively tall cylinders driven by the rotation of an endwall are studied numerically. These flows are distinguished from the more widely studied swirling flows in shorter cylinders; the instability in the taller cylinders is direct to three-dimensional flows rather than to unsteady axisymmetric flows. The simulations are in very good agreement with recent experiments in terms of the critical Reynolds number, frequency, and azimuthal wavenumber of the flows, but there is disagreement in the interpretation of these flows. We show that these flows are indeed rotating waves and that they have the same vorticity distributions as the flows measured using particle image velocimetry in the experiments. Identifying these as rotating waves gives a direct connection with prior linear stability analysis and the three-dimensional flows found in shorter cylinders as secondary instabilities leading to modulated rotating waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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