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Steady boundary-layer solutions for a swirling stratified fluid in a rotating cone

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 1999

Department of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Department of Mathematics, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Applied Mechanics and Aviation, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA


We consider a set of nonlinear boundary-layer equations that have been derived by Duck, Foster & Hewitt (1997a, DFH), for the swirling flow of a linearly stratified fluid in a conical container. In contrast to the unsteady analysis of DFH, we restrict attention to steady solutions and extend the previous discussion further by allowing the container to both co-rotate and counter-rotate relative to the contained swirling fluid. The system is governed by three parameters, which are essentially non-dimensional measures of the rotation, stratification and a Schmidt number. Some of the properties of this system are related (in some cases rather subtly) to those found in the swirling flow of a homogeneous fluid above an infinite rotating disk; however, the introduction of buoyancy effects with a sloping boundary leads to other (new) behaviours. A general description of the steady solutions to this system proves to be rather complicated and shows many interesting features, including non-uniqueness, singular solutions and bifurcation phenomena.

We present a broad description of the steady states with particular emphasis on boundaries in parameter space beyond which steady states cannot be continued.

A natural extension of this work (motivated by recent experimental results) is to investigate the possibility of solution branches corresponding to non-axisymmetric boundary-layer states appearing as bifurcations of the axisymmetric solutions. In an Appendix we give details of an exact, non-axisymmetric solution to the Navier–Stokes equations (with axisymmetric boundary conditions) corresponding to the flow of homogeneous fluid above a rotating disk.

Research Article
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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