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A dynamical instability due to fluid–wall coupling lowers the transition Reynolds number in the flow through a flexible tube

Verma, MKS and Kumaran, V (2011) A dynamical instability due to fluid–wall coupling lowers the transition Reynolds number in the flow through a flexible tube. In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics . pp. 1-26.

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Abstract

A flow-induced instability in a tube with flexible walls is studied experimentally. Tubes of diameter 0.8 and 1.2 mm are cast in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymer gels, and the catalyst concentration in these gels is varied to obtain shear modulus in the range 17–550 kPa. A pressure drop between the inlet and outlet of the tube is used to drive fluid flow, and the friction factor $f$ is measured as a function of the Reynolds number $Re$. From these measurements, it is found that the laminar flow becomes unstable, and there is a transition to a more complicated flow profile, for Reynolds numbers as low as 500 for the softest gels used here. The nature of the $f$–$Re$ curves is also qualitatively different from that in the flow past rigid tubes; in contrast to the discontinuous increase in the friction factor at transition in a rigid tube, it is found that there is a continuous increase in the friction factor from the laminar value of $16\ensuremath{/} Re$ in a flexible tube. The onset of transition is also detected by a dye-stream method, where a stream of dye is injected into the centre of the tube. It is found that there is a continuous increase of the amplitude of perturbations at the onset of transition in a flexible tube, in contrast to the abrupt disruption of the dye stream at transition in a rigid tube. There are oscillations in the wall of the tube at the onset of transition, which is detected from the laser scattering off the walls of the tube. This indicates that the coupling between the fluid stresses and the elastic stresses in the wall results in an instability of the laminar flow.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Cambridge University Press.
Keywords: flow-vessel interactions;instability
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Chemical Engineering
Depositing User: Ms V Mangala
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2011 13:46
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 13:46
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/39871

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