This paper is a flow visualisation study of the effect of Coriolis force on the flow in the transition regime in a channel with a mild change in cross section. Transition in this flow is found to share a salient gross feature with its counterpart in a rotating channel of uniform cross section, viz. that it takes place at a Reynolds number around two orders of magnitude lower than the critical Reynolds number in a non-rotating system and it is then to a state of flow with highly ordered steady longitudinal vortices. The change in channel cross section has the effect that the longitudinal vortices may arise or be annihilated in neighbouring sub-domains within the flow region. While in a channel of decreasing cross section the flow may undergo transition as it proceeds downstream, it may also revert from the state with vortices to one without in a channel of increasing cross section. Viewed in terms of a stability diagram with local flow parameters alone, the cross-over points from one state to another do not coincide for the two cases, with the reversal of transition exhibiting a kind of “hysteresis”.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 22, 1997
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