Characterisation of the steady, laminar incompressible flow in toroidal pipes covering the entire curvature range

Authors: Canton, J.C., Örlü, R., Schlatter, P.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Int. J. Heat and Fluid Flow
Volume: 66   95-107
Year: 2017


This work is concerned with a detailed investigation of the steady (laminar), incompressible flow inside bent pipes. In particular, a toroidal pipe is considered in an effort to isolate the effect of the curvature, ?, on the flow features, and to compare the present results to available correlations in the literature. More than 110?000 numerical solutions are computed, without any approximation, spanning the entire curvature range, 0 ? ? ? 1, and for bulk Reynolds numbers Re up to 7?000, where the flow is known to be unsteady. Results show that the Dean number De provides a meaningful non-dimensional group only below very strict limits on the curvature and the Dean number itself. For ?>10?6 and De > 10, in fact, not a single flow feature is found to scale well with the Dean number. These considerations are also valid for quantities, such as the Fanning friction factor, that were previously considered Dean-number dependent only. The flow is therefore studied as a function of two equally important, independent parameters: the curvature of the pipe and the Reynolds number. The analysis shows that by increasing the curvature the flow is fundamentally changed. Moderate to high curvatures are not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively different from low ? cases. A complete description of some of the most relevant flow quantities is provided. Most notably the friction factor f for laminar flow in curved pipes by Ito [J. Basic Eng. 81:123–134 (1959)] is reproduced, the influence of the curvature on f is quantified and the scaling is discussed. A complete database including all the computed solutions is available at www.flow.kth.se.