Thermal diffusion interface inside a horizontal pipe flow compared between laminar and turbulent flow regimes

  • K. NakamuraEmail author
  • H. J. Park
  • Y. Murai
  • T. Takeuchi
Regular Paper


A visualization of thermal diffusion in a horizontal pipe flow is conducted to elucidate the axial diffusion characteristics of two fluids of differing temperatures, particularly those flows between the laminar and turbulent flow regimes. Tracer particles are used to detect the thermal diffusion interface as well as to measure streamwise velocity profiles. We found that the Hagen–Poiseuille parabolic velocity profile established a long axial diffusion length that drives thermal convection in the pipe cross-sectional plane. This situation results in a 3D interface at Reynolds number, Re = 600, and a vertically stratified interface at Re = 1900. In turbulent flows at Re = 5700, an anti-diffusion spot appears in the front section before undergoing rapid mixing under turbulence. From the visualized particle images, the apparent axial coefficients of diffusion were measured and compared with the friction properties of the pipe. Furthermore, particle image velocimetry (PIV) explored the two-way coupling mechanism of between the temperature and the velocity within the thermal diffusion process.

Graphical abstract


Pipe flow Flow transition Convection Diffusion interface Heat transfer Particle image velocimetry 



The authors thank the Fundamental Research Developing Association for Shipbuilding and Offshore (REDAS) for the financial support and Dr. Yuji Tasaka, Hokkaido University, for discussions on the physics of flow transition.


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Copyright information

© The Visualization Society of Japan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Nakamura
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. J. Park
    • 1
  • Y. Murai
    • 1
  • T. Takeuchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory for Flow Control, Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Pipeline Technology CenterTokyo Gas Co. LtdYokohamaJapan

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