Characterizing Swirl Strength and Recirculation Zone Formation in Tangentially Injected Isothermal Flows

Document Type : Regular Article


Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, 110016, India



This paper presents a computational study characterizing the swirl intensity distribution and Internal Recirculation Zone (IRZ) formed in a cylindrical domain with tangential injections and isothermal flow. The range of inlet boundary conditions investigated is 5o to 25o for the injection angle and 7190 to 100711 for the bulk flow Reynolds number. The evolution of swirl intensity is presented with and without incorporating effects of the accompanying pressure variations. The Shear Stress Transport (SST) k-ω is used to model turbulence. Results show that the Swirl strength created by such tangential injections strongly depends on the injection angle but does not vary with bulk flow Reynolds number (Re), except for low Re values. The swirling flow is shown to result in IRZ formation at injection angles 6o and above or when asymptotic value of the maximum Swirl Number in the domain exceeds approximately 0.6, same as the transition value of inlet Swirl Number in swirling flows with axial injections. The IRZ length increases with injection angle and varies with Re for lower values of Re at a given injection angle but asymptotes for higher values above 40000. The conventional Swirl Number rises rapidly downstream of the injection plane followed by a slow decline. On the other hand, an alternative Swirl Number, which incorporates the gauge pressure variation, shows slow and consistent decay all the way downstream of the injection plane. The Swirl Number incorporated with gauge pressure term subsumes interconversions between the axial momentum and pressure in the regions of vortex breakdown and IRZ formation, thereby presenting an alternative picture of swirl intensity evolution in swirling flows.


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