Flow through rotating rectangular ducts

K. Nandakumar*, H. Raszillier, F. Durst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The bifurcation structure of two-dimensional, pressure-driven flows through a rectangular duct that is rotating about an axis perpendicular to its own is examined at a fixed Ekman number (Ek = v/b2Ω) of 0.01. The solution structure for flow through a square duct (aspect ratio γ = 1) is determined for Rossby numbers (Ro = U/bΩ) in the range of 0-5 using a computational scheme based on the arclength continuation method. The structure is much more complicated than reported earlier by Kheshgi and Scriven [Phys. Fluids 28, 2968 (1985)]. The primary branch with two limit points in Rossby number and a hysteresis behavior between the two- and four-cell flow structure that was computed by Kheshgi and Scriven is confirmed. An additional symmetric solution branch, which is disconnected from the primary branch (or rather connected via an asymmetric solution branch), is found. This has a two-cell flow structure at one end, a four-cell flow structure at the other and three limit points are located on the path. Two asymmetric solution branches emanating from symmetry breaking bifurcation points are also found for a square duct. Thus even within a Rossby number range of 0-5 a much richer solutions structure is found with up to five solutions at Ro = 5. An eigenvalue calculation indicates that all two-dimensional solutions develop some form of unstable mode by the time Ro is increased to 5.0. In particular, the four-cell solution becomes unstable to asymmetric perturbations as found in a related problem of flow through a curved duct. The paths of the singular points are tracked with respect to variation in the aspect ratio using the fold following algorithm. A transcritical point is found at an aspect ratio of 0.815 and below which the four-cell solution is no longer on the primary branch. When the channel cross section is tilted even slightly (1°) with respect to the axis of rotation, the bifurcation points unfold and the two-cell solution evolves smoothly as Rossby number is increased. The four-cell solutions then become genuinely disconnected from the primary branch. The uniqueness range in Rossby number increases with increasing tilt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-781
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics of fluids. A, Fluid dynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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