Anisotropic turbulence and coherent structures in eccentric annular channels

Elia Merzari, Hisashi Ninokata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Eccentric annular pipe flows represent an ideal model for investigating inhomogeneous turbulent shear flows, where conditions of turbulence production and transport vary significantly within the cross-section. Moreover recent works have proven that in geometries characterized by the presence of a narrow gap, large-scale coherent structures are present. The eccentric annular channel represents, in the opinion of the present authors, the prototype of these geometries. The aim of the present work is to verify the capability of a numerical methodology to fully reproduce the main features of the flow field in this geometry, to verify and characterize the presence of large-scale coherent structures, to examine their behavior at different Reynolds numbers and eccentricities and to analyze the anisotropy associated to these structures. The numerical approach is based upon LES, boundary fitted coordinates and a fractional step algorithm. A dynamic Sub Grid Scale (SGS) model suited for this numerical environment has been implemented and tested. An additional interest of this work is therefore in the approach employed itself, considering it as a step into the development of an effective LES methodology for flows in complex channel geometries. Agreement with previous experimental and DNS results has been found good overall for the streamwise velocity, shear stress and the rms of the velocity components. The instantaneous flow field presented large-scale coherent structures in the streamwise direction at low Reynolds numbers, while these are absent or less dominant at higher Reynolds and low eccentricity. After Reynolds averaging is performed over a long integration time the existence of secondary flows in the cross session is proven. Their shape is found to be constant over the Reynolds range surveyed, and dependent on the geometric parameters. The effect of secondary flows on anisotropy is studied over an extensive Reynolds range through invariant analysis. Additional insight on the mechanics of turbulence in this geometry is obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-120
Number of pages28
JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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