Subcritical versus supercritical transition to turbulence in curved pipes
Transition to turbulence in straight pipes occurs in spite of the linear stability of the laminar Hagen-Poiseuille flow if both the amplitude of flow perturbations and the Reynolds number Re exceed a minimum threshold (subcritical transition). As the pipe curvature increases, centrifugal effects become important, modifying the basic flow as well as the most unstable linear modes. If the curvature (tube-to-coiling diameter d/D) is sufficiently large, a Hopf bifurcation (supercritical instability) is encountered before turbulence can be excited (subcritical instability). We trace the instability thresholds in the Re - d/D parameter space in the range 0.01 ≤ d/D\ ≤ 0.1 by means of laser-Doppler velocimetry and determine the point where the subcritical and supercritical instabilities meet. Two different experimental set-ups are used: a closed system where the pipe forms an axisymmetric torus and an open system employing a helical pipe. Implications for the measurement of friction factors in curved pipes are discussed.
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Cambridge University Press