Effect of the pattern of initial perturbations on the steady pipe flow regime
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The influence of the inlet flow formation mode on the steady flow regime in a circular pipe has been investigated experimentally. For a given inlet flow formation mode the Reynolds number Re* at which the transition from laminar to turbulent steady flow occurred was determined. With decrease in the Reynolds number the difference between the resistance coefficients for laminar and turbulent flows decreases. At a Reynolds number approximately equal to 1000 the resistance coefficients calculated from the Hagen-Poiseuille formula for laminar steady flow and from the Prandtl formula for turbulent steady flow are equal. Therefore, we may assume that at Re > 1000 steady pipe flow can only be laminar and in this case it is meaningless to speak of a transition from one steady pipe flow regime to the other.
The previously published results [1–9] show that the Reynolds number at which laminar goes over into turbulent steady flow decreases with increase in the intensity of the inlet pulsations. However, at the highest inlet pulsation intensities realized experimentally, turbulent flow was observed only at Reynolds numbers higher than a certain value, which in different experiments varied over the range 1900–2320 . In spite of this scatter, it has been assumed that in the experiments a so-called lower critical Reynolds number was determined, such that at higher Reynolds numbers turbulent flow can be observed and at lower Reynolds numbers for any inlet perturbations only steady laminar flow can be realized. In contrast to the lower critical Reynolds number, the Re* values obtained in the present study, were determined for given (not arbitrary) inlet flow formation modes.
In this study, it is experimentally shown that the Re* values depend not only on the pipe inlet pulsation intensity but also on the pulsation flow pattern. This result suggests that in the previous experiments the Re* values were determined and that their scatter is related with the different pulsation flow patterns at the pipe inlet.
The experimental data so far obtained are insufficient either to determine the lower critical Reynolds number or even to assert that this number exists for a pipe at all.
KeywordsReynolds number turbulent flow laminar flow transition to turbulence in a pipe experiment
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