The Dean instability in power-law and Bingham fluids in a curved rectangular duct
JOURNAL OF NON-NEWTONIAN FLUID MECHANICS
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The laminar flow of power-law and yield-stress fluids in 180, curved channels of rectangular cross section was studied experimentally and numerically in order to understand the effect of theological fluid behavior on the Dean instability that appears beyond a critical condition in the flow. This leads to the apparition of Dean vortices that differ from the two corner vortices created by the channel wall curvature. Flow visualizations showed that the Dean vortices develop first in the near-wall zone on the concave (outer) wall, where the shear rate is higher and the viscosity weaker; then they penetrate into the centre of the channel cross section where power-law fluids have high viscosity and Bingham fluids are unyielded in laminar flow. Based on the complete formation on the concave wall of the new pairs of counter-rotating vortices (Dean vortices), the critical value of the Dean number decreases as the power-law index increases for the power-law fluids, and the Bingham number decreases for the Bingham fluids. For power-law fluids, a diagram of critical Dean numbers, based on the number of Dean vortices formed, was established for different axial positions. For the same flow conditions, the critical Dean number obtained using the axial velocity gradient criterion was smaller then that obtained with the visualization technique. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.