Steady laminar flow in a 90 degree planar branch

R. E. Hayes*, K. Nandakumar, H. Nasr-El-Din

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The flow characteristics of a Newtonian fluid in a two-dimensional, planar, right angled Tee branch are studied over a range of inlet Reynolds number of 10-800 by solving the Navier-Stokes equations using a finite element discretization. The effects of the branch length and the grid size on the interior flow field are examined to assess the accuracy of the solutions. In one case the computed velocity field is compared with the Laser Doppler anemometry measurements available in the literature and excellent agreement has been obtained. The computed velocity field is believed to be accurate within about 5%. Results are presented for two types of experimentally realizable boundary conditions-viz. equal exit pressure at the outlet of each branch and specified flow split between the branches. For the case of equal exit pressures the fractional flow in the main duct increases with increasing Reynolds number and the flow characteristics in the side branch become akin to that in a cavity. For the case of specified flow split, the number, size and strength of the recirculation zones increase as more fluid is forced to go into the side branch. The length of the side branch appears to have very little influence on the interior flow field, particularly at higher Reynolds number. This observation is rationalized as being due to the parabolized approximation becoming more valid at higher Reynolds numbers. The critical Reynolds number at which the first recirculation zone appears in the side branch increases with increasing fractional flow in the side branch and with decreasing side branch width.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-553
Number of pages17
JournalComputers and Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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