Fluid flows in pipes whose cross-sectional area are increasing in the stream-wise direction are prone to separation of the recirculation region. This paper aims to investigate such fluid flow in expansion pipe systems using direct numerical simulations. The flow in circular diverging pipes with different diverging half angles, namely, 45, 26, 14, 7.2 and 4.7 degrees, are considered. The flow is fed by a fully developed laminar parabolic velocity profile at its inlet and is connected to a long straight circular pipe at its downstream to characterise recirculation zone and skin friction coefficient in the laminar regime. The flow is considered linearly stable for Reynolds numbers sufficiently below natural transition. A perturbation is added to the inlet fully developed laminar velocity profile to test the flow response to finite amplitude disturbances and to characterise sub-critical transition.Design/methodology/approachDirect numerical simulations of the Navier–Stokes equations have been solved using a spectral element method.FindingsIt is found that the onset of disordered motion and the dynamics of the localised turbulence patch are controlled by the Reynolds number, the perturbation amplitude and the half angle of the pipe.Originality/valueThe authors clarify different stages of flow behaviour under the finite amplitude perturbations and shed more light to flow physics such as existence of Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities as well as mechanism of turbulent puff shedding in diverging pipe flows.
International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 15, 2020
Keywords: Diverging pipe flows; Localized turbulence; Transitional flow; Direct numerical simulations