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Velocity profiles, flow structures and scalings in a wide-gap turbulent Taylor–Couette flow

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2017

A. Froitzheim*
Affiliation:
Department of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Siemens-Halske-Ring 14, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
S. Merbold
Affiliation:
Department of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Siemens-Halske-Ring 14, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
C. Egbers
Affiliation:
Department of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Siemens-Halske-Ring 14, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
*
Email address for correspondence: Andreas.Froitzheim@b-tu.de

Abstract

Fully turbulent Taylor–Couette flow between independently rotating cylinders is investigated experimentally in a wide-gap configuration ( $\unicode[STIX]{x1D702}=0.5$ ) around the maximum transport of angular momentum. In that regime turbulent Taylor vortices are present inside the gap, leading to a pronounced axial dependence of the flow. To account for this dependence, we measure the radial and azimuthal velocity components in horizontal planes at different cylinder heights using particle image velocimetry. The ratio of angular velocities of the cylinder walls $\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}$ , where the torque maximum appears, is located in the low counter-rotating regime ( $\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}_{max}(\unicode[STIX]{x1D702}=0.5)=-0.2$ ). This point coincides with the smallest radial gradient of angular velocity in the bulk and the detachment of the neutral surface from the outer cylinder wall, where the azimuthal velocity component vanishes. The structure of the flow is further revealed by decomposing the flow field into its large-scale and turbulent contributions. Applying this decomposition to the kinetic energy, we can analyse the formation process of the turbulent Taylor vortices in more detail. Starting at pure inner cylinder rotation, the vortices are formed and strengthened until $\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}=-0.2$ quite continuously, while they break down rapidly for higher counter-rotation. The same picture is shown by the decomposed Nusselt number, and the range of rotation ratios, where turbulent Taylor vortices can exist, shrinks strongly in comparison to investigations at much lower shear Reynolds numbers. Moreover, we analyse the scaling of the Nusselt number and the wind Reynolds number with the shear Reynolds number, finding a communal transition at approximately $Re_{S}\approx 10^{5}$ from classical to ultimate turbulence with a transitional regime lasting at least up to $Re_{S}\geqslant 2\times 10^{5}$ . Including the axial dispersion of the flow into the calculation of the wind amplitude, we can also investigate the wind Reynolds number as a function of the rotation ratio $\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}$ , finding a maximum in the low counter-rotating regime slightly larger than $\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}_{max}$ . Based on our study it becomes clear that the investigation of counter-rotating Taylor–Couette flows strongly requires an axial exploration of the flow.

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Papers
Copyright
© 2017 Cambridge University Press 

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