The analysis and experiments in this paper are restricted to the flow between two coaxial, infinite disks, one rotating and one stationary. The results of numerical calculations show that many solutions can exist for a given Reynolds number Ωl2/v (Ω is the angular velocity of the rotating disk and I is the spacing between the two disks). Out of a greater number of possible solutions, three solution branches have been identified; the branches correspond to one-, two- and three-flow cells in the meridional plane.
The one-cell branch has been accorded detailed treatment. Within this branch there are two subbranches. The first, now well documented in the literature, includes solutions from zero to infinite Reynolds number. The latter limiting case is characterized by an inward-flowing boundary layer on the stationary disk and an outward-flowing boundary layer on the rotating disk. In between is a core flow rotating with a constant angular velocity. The second sub-branch of the single-cell flows, apparently unknown heretofore, begins with an infinite Reynolds number, decreases to a minimum and then increases to an infinite Reynolds number again. The first infinite Reynolds number limit again corresponds to two boundary-layer flows separated by a core flow with constantangular velocity opposite in direction to the angular velocity of the rotating disk. The second limiting case of infinite Reynolds number is the free-disk solution of von Kármán (1921). Asymptotic solutions have been obtained which more fully describe the nature of this flow as the Reynolds number increases.
The second part of the paper presents experimental measurements corresponding to the Reynolds number range 0–100. Profiles were measured with a hot-wire anemometer. The measurements are in agreement with the first, one-cell branch of solutions. A semi-quantitative evaluation of edge effects is obtained.