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Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

Turbulent Flow Through a Ducted Elbow and Plugged Tee Geometry: An Experimental and Numerical Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew M. Bluestein

Mechanical and Aeronautical
Engineering Department,
Clarkson University,
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
e-mail: bluestam@clarkson.edu

Ravon Venters

Mechanical and Aeronautical
Engineering Department,
Clarkson University,
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
e-mail: venterrm@clarkson.edu

Douglas Bohl

Mechanical and Aeronautical
Engineering Department,
Clarkson University,
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
e-mail: dbohl@clarkson.edu

Brian T. Helenbrook

Mechanical and Aeronautical
Engineering Department,
Clarkson University,
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
e-mail: helenbrk@clarkson.edu

Goodarz Ahmadi

Mechanical and Aeronautical
Engineering Department,
Clarkson University,
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
e-mail: gahmadi@clarkson.edu

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received May 7, 2018; final manuscript received December 3, 2018; published online January 30, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Meredith Metzer.

J. Fluids Eng 141(8), 081101 (Jan 30, 2019) (14 pages) Paper No: FE-18-1329; doi: 10.1115/1.4042256 History: Received May 07, 2018; Revised December 03, 2018

An experimental and computational comparison of the turbulent flow field for a sharp 90 deg elbow and plugged tee junction is presented. These are commonly used industrial geometries with the tee often retrofitted by plugging the straight exit to create an elbow. Mean and fluctuating velocities along the midplane were measured via two-dimensional (2D) particle image velocimetry (PIV), and the results were compared with the predictions of Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations for Reynolds numbers of 11,500 and 115,000. Major flow features of the elbow and plugged tee were compared using the mean velocity contours. Geometry effects and Reynolds number effects were studied by examining the mean and root-mean-square (RMS) fluctuating velocity profiles at six positions. Finally, the asymmetry of the flow as measured by the position of the centroid of the volumetric flux and pressure loss data were examined to quantify the streamwise evolution of the flow in the respective geometries. It was found that in both geometries there was a large recirculation zone in the downstream leg but the RANS simulations predicted an overly long recirculation which led to significantly different mean and fluctuating velocities in that region when compared to the experiments. Comparison of velocity profiles showed that both experiments and numerics agree in the fact that the turbulence intensities were greater at higher Re downstream of the vertical leg. Finally, it was shown that the plugged tee recovered its symmetry more rapidly and created less pressure loss than the elbow.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Overview of flow loop

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Fig. 2

Cross-sectional view of flow in a duct. Re = 115,000. The mean streamwise velocity magnitude contours, u, (left of image) and mean in-plane velocity magnitude contours, v2+w2, (right of image) overlaid with in-plane velocity vectors (right of image): (a) RSTM model and (b) kϵ model.

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Fig. 3

Schematics of elbow and tee. The * coordinate system is aligned with respect to the streamwise direction of the flow indicated by: — - —. The cross section shows the line of symmetry (- - - -).

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Fig. 4

Mesh configuration for the elbow. (Left) the mesh at the midplane of the elbow geometry. The mesh was refined at the junction to account for the shear layer formation. (Right) a representation of the cross-sectional plane upstream of the junction. The mesh is refined near the walls to account for the steep gradients in the flow variables.

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Fig. 5

Velocity magnitude contours for the elbow and plugged tee cases, Re = 115,000: (a) computational elbow, (b) experimental elbow, (c) computational tee, and (d) experimental tee

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Fig. 6

Duct upstream profiles. Profiles from current geometries extracted from x/H = −3.5

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Fig. 7

Comparison of the experimental and simulated results at three upstream positions for the elbow and plugged tee, Re = 115,000: (a) upstream u profiles, (b) upstream u′ profiles, and (c) upstream w′ profiles

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Fig. 8

Comparison of the experimental and simulated results at three downstream positions for the elbow and plugged tee, Re = 115,000: (a) downstream w profiles, (b) downstream w′ profiles, and (c) downstream u′ profiles

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Fig. 9

Comparison of the experimental and simulated results at three upstream positions for the plugged tee at Re = 11,500 and Re = 115,000: (a) upstream u profiles, (b) upstream u′ profiles, and (c) upstream w′ profiles

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Fig. 10

Comparison of the experimental and simulated results at three downstream positions for the elbow plugged tee Re = 11,500 and Re = 115,000: (a) downstream w profiles, (b) downstream w′ profiles, and (c) downstream u′ profiles

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Fig. 11

Axial flow contours, u, (left of image) and in-plane, v2+w2 secondary flow contours overlaid with secondary flow vectors (right of image) at position x/H = −1.0 upstream of the bend for the elbow (left) and tee junction (right). The top of the image is the top wall: (a) elbow and (b) tee

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Fig. 12

Axial flow contours, w (left of image) and in-plane, u2+v2, secondary flow contours overlaid with secondary flow vectors (right of image) at position z/H =1.0 downstream of the bend for the elbow (left) and tee junction (right). The bottom of the image is the inside wall where recirculation occurs: (a) elbow and (b) tee

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Fig. 13

Axial flow contours, u, (left of image) and secondary in-plane, v2+w2, flow contours overlaid with secondary flow vectors (right of image) at the exit for the elbow (left) and tee junction (right). The bottom of the image is the inside wall: (a) elbow and (b) tee

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Fig. 14

Mean velocity flux weighted by the position perpendicular to the mean flow

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Fig. 15

Mean pressure at various cross sections in the elbow and plugged tee

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