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Stability of the viscous flow of a fluid through a flexible tube

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2006

V. Kumaran
Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India


The stability of Hagen-Poiseuille flow of a Newtonian fluid of viscosity η in a tube of radius R surrounded by a viscoelastic medium of elasticity G and viscosity ηs occupying the annulus R < r < HR is determined using a linear stability analysis. The inertia of the fluid and the medium are neglected, and the mass and momentum conservation equations for the fluid and wall are linear. The only coupling between the mean flow and fluctuations enters via an additional term in the boundary condition for the tangential velocity at the interface, due to the discontinuity in the strain rate in the mean flow at the surface. This additional term is responsible for destabilizing the surface when the mean velocity increases beyond a transition value, and the physical mechanism driving the instability is the transfer of energy from the mean flow to the fluctuations due to the work done by the mean flow at the interface.

The transition velocity Γt for the presence of surface instabilities depends on the wavenumber k and three dimensionless parameters: the ratio of the solid and fluid viscosities ηr = (ηs/η), the capillary number λ = (T/GR) and the ratio of radii H, where T is the surface tension of the interface. For ηr = 0 and λ = 0, the transition velocity Γt diverges in the limits k [Lt ] 1 and k [Gt ] 1, and has a minimum for finite k. The qualitative behaviour of the transition velocity is the same for λ < 0 and ηr = 0, though there is an increase in λt in the limit k > 1. When the viscosity of the surface is non-zero (ηr < 0), however, there is a qualitative change in the λtvs. k curves. For ηr < 1, the transition velocity λt is finite only when k is greater than a minimum value kmin, while perturbations with wavenumber k < kmin are stable even for λ → ∞. For ηr > 1, λt is finite only for kmin < k < kmax, while perturbations with wavenumber k < kmin or k > kmax are stable in the limit λ → ∞. As H decreases or ηr increases, the difference kmaxkmin decreases. At a minimum value H = Hmin which is a function of ηr, the difference kmaxkmin = 0, and for H < Hmin, perturbations of all wavenumbers are stable even in the limit λ → ∞. The calculations indicate that Hmin shows a strong divergence proportional to exp (0.0832nr2) for ηr [Gt ] 1.

Research Article
© 1995 Cambridge University Press

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