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Secondary flow in weakly rotating turbulent plane Couette flow

  • Knut H. Bech (a1) and Helge I. Andersson (a1)

As in the laminar case, the turbulent plane Couette flow is unstable (stable) with respect to roll cell instabilities when the weak background angular velocity Ωk is antiparallel (parallel) to the spanwise mean flow vorticity (-dU/dy)k. The critical value of the rotation number Ro, based on 2Ω and dU/dy of the corresponding laminar flow, was estimated as 0.0002 at a low Reynolds number with fully developed turbulence. Direct numerical simulations were performed for Ro = ±0.01 and compared with earlier results for non-rotating Couette flow. At the low rotation rates considered, both senses of rotation damped the turbulence and the number of near-wall turbulence-generating events was reduced. The destabilized flow was more energetic, but less three-dimensional, than the non-rotating flow. In the destabilized case, the two-dimensional roll cells extracted a comparable amount of kinetic energy from the mean flow as did the turbulence, thereby decreasing the turbulent kinetic energy. The turbulence anisotropy was practically unaffected by weak spanwise rotation, while the secondary flow was highly anisotropic due to its inability to contract and expand in the streamwise direction.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
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