Time-resolved stereo PIV measurements of the horseshoe vortex system at multiple locations in a low-aspect-ratio pin–fin array

Corey D. Anderson, Stephen P. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Pin–fin arrays are a type of cooling feature found in heat exchangers, with elements (generally cylindrical or square) that span between two endwalls. Flow around the pin–fins generates highly turbulent mixing that increases convective heat transfer from the pins to the cooling flow. At the junction of a pin–fin and the endwall, a complex flow known as the horseshoe vortex (HSV) system is present. Although the HSV is a well-studied phenomenon, its behavior is not understood in the highly turbulent flow of a pin–fin array. Furthermore, the presence of close confining endwalls for low-aspect-ratio (short) pin–fins may have an impact on HSV dynamics. The present study utilized time-resolved stereo particle image velocimetry to examine the fluid dynamics of the HSV system in rows 1, 3, and 5 of a low-aspect-ratio pin–fin array, for a range of Reynolds numbers. In the first row, instantaneous flowfields indicated a clearly defined HSV at the leading edge, with dynamics similar to previous studies of bluff-body junction flows. The time-averaged HSV system moved closer to the pin with increasing Reynolds number, with more concentrated vorticity and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). For downstream rows, there was a significant increase in the amount of mid-channel vorticity, with levels on the same order as the value in the core of the HSV. The time-averaged HSV system in downstream rows showed minimal variation with respect to either Reynolds number or row location. Regions of maximum streamwise and wall-normal turbulent fluctuations around the HSV were a result of its quasiperiodic oscillation between so-called backflow and zero-flow modes, which were present even in downstream rows despite the extremely high mid-channel turbulence. In the downstream rows, normalized TKE across the entire field of view decreased with increased Reynolds number, likely due to dissipation rates proportionally outpacing increases in mean channel velocity and Reynolds number. The flowfield results from this study corroborate prior findings from heat transfer measurements that indicate a fully developed condition is established at around the fifth row in an array.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Time-resolved stereo PIV measurements of the horseshoe vortex system at multiple locations in a low-aspect-ratio pin–fin array'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this