Turbulent flow between rotating cylinders

Shih-I, Pai (California Institute of Technology)
naca-tn-892
March 1943


The turbulent air flow between rotating cylinders was investigated. The distributions of mean speed and of turbulence were measured in the gap between a rotating inner and a stationary outer cylinder. The measurements led to the conclusion that the turbulent flow in the gap cannot be considered two dimensional, but that a particular type of secondary motion takes place. It is shown that the experimentally found velocity distribution can be fully understood under the assumption that this secondary motion consists of three-dimensional ring-shape vortices. The vortices occur only in pairs, and their number and size depend on the speed of the rotating cylinder; the number was found to decrease with increasing speed. The secondary motion has an essential part in the transmission of the moment of momentum. In regions where the secondary motion is negligible, the momentum transfer follows the laws known for homologous turbulence. Ring-shape vortices are known to occur in the laminar flow between rotating cylinders, but it was hitherto unknown that they exist even at speeds that are several hundred times the critical limit.

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