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The Jeffery–Hamel similarity solution and its relation to flow in a diverging channel

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2011

P. E. Haines*
School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
R. E. Hewitt
School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
A. L. Hazel
School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Email address for correspondence:


We explore the relevance of the idealized Jeffery–Hamel similarity solution to the practical problem of flow in a diverging channel of finite (but large) streamwise extent. Numerical results are presented for the two-dimensional flow in a wedge of separation angle , bounded by circular arcs at the inlet/outlet and for a net radial outflow of fluid. In particular, we show that in a finite domain there is a sequence of nested neutral curves in the plane, each corresponding to a midplane symmetry-breaking (pitchfork) bifurcation, where is a Reynolds number based on the radial mass flux. For small wedge angles we demonstrate that the first pitchfork bifurcation in the finite domain occurs at a critical Reynolds number that is in agreement with the only pitchfork bifurcation in the infinite-domain similarity solution, but that the criticality of the bifurcation differs (in general). We explain this apparent contradiction by demonstrating that, for , superposition of two (infinite-domain) eigenmodes can be used to construct a leading-order finite-domain eigenmode. These constructed modes accurately predict the multiple symmetry-breaking bifurcations of the finite-domain flow without recourse to computation of the full field equations. Our computational results also indicate that temporally stable, isolated, steady solutions may exist. These states are finite-domain analogues of the steady waves recently presented by Kerswell, Tutty, & Drazin (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 501, 2004, pp. 231–250) for an infinite domain. Moreover, we demonstrate that there is non-uniqueness of stable solutions in certain parameter regimes. Our numerical results tie together, in a consistent framework, the disparate results in the existing literature.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Present address: School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.


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