Three-dimensional velocity field for wavy Taylor-Couette flow

Alp Akonur*, Richard M. Lueptow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The stability of wavy supercritical cylindrical Couette flow has been studied extensively, but few measurements of the velocity field in flow have been made. Particle image velocimetry was used to measure the azimuthal and radial velocities in latitudinal planes perpendicular to the axis of rotation for wavy cylindrical Couette flow in the annulus between a rotating inner cylinder and a fixed outer cylinder. These measurements were matched to previous measurements of the axial and radial velocity measured in several meridional planes resulting in an experimentally measured, time-resolved, three-dimensional, three-component velocity field for wavy cylindrical Couette flow. Using this complete velocity field it is possible to evaluate details of the flow field. The vortical motion transports azimuthal momentum radially while the axial exchange of fluid between vortices in wavy flow transports azimuthal momentum axially. As the Reynolds number increases, these effects strengthen. Streams of net axial flow stretch axially along the length of the annulus and wind around the vortices from the inner cylinder to the outer cylinder and back while also winding azimuthally in the annulus. The azimuthal velocity measured at the center of a vortex is similar to the azimuthal wave speed. Measurements of the azimuthal velocity in cylindrical surfaces concentric with the axis of rotation suggest that the origin of the waviness is related to a jet-like azimuthal velocity profile rather than the radial outflow jet. Near both cylinder walls, the shear stress is quite large, decreasing to near zero at the middle of the annular gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-960
Number of pages14
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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