Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

Design and Validation of a Recirculating, High-Reynolds Number Water Tunnel

[+] Author and Article Information
Brian R. Elbing

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Oklahoma State University,
Engineering North 218,
Stillwater, OK 74078
e-mail: elbing@okstate.edu

Libin Daniel

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Oklahoma State University,
Stillwater, OK 74078
e-mail: Libin.Daniel@gulfstream.com

Yasaman Farsiani

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Oklahoma State University,
Engineering North 218,
Stillwater, OK 74078
e-mail: yasaman.farsiani@okstate.edu

Christopher E. Petrin

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Oklahoma State University,
Engineering North 218,
Stillwater, OK 74078
e-mail: cepetri@okstate.edu

1Corresponding author.

2Present address: Flight Test Engineering, Gulftstream Aerospace Corporation, Savannah, GA 31408.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received July 2, 2017; final manuscript received February 15, 2018; published online March 29, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Elias Balaras.

J. Fluids Eng 140(8), 081102 (Mar 29, 2018) (6 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1404; doi: 10.1115/1.4039509 History: Received July 02, 2017; Revised February 15, 2018

Commercial water tunnels typically generate a momentum thickness based Reynolds number (Reθ) ∼1000, which is slightly above the laminar to turbulent transition. The current work compiles the literature on the design of high-Reynolds number facilities and uses it to design a high-Reynolds number recirculating water tunnel that spans the range between commercial water tunnels and the largest in the world. The final design has a 1.1 m long test-section with a 152 mm square cross section that can reach speed of 10 m/s, which corresponds to Reθ=15,000. Flow conditioning via a tandem configuration of honeycombs and settling-chambers combined with an 8.5:1 area contraction resulted in an average test-section inlet turbulence level <0.3% and negligible mean shear in the test-section core. The developing boundary layer on the test-section walls conform to a canonical zero-pressure-gradient (ZPG) flat-plate turbulent boundary layer (TBL) with the outer variable scaled profile matching a 1/7th power-law fit, inner variable scaled velocity profiles matching the log-law and a shape factor of 1.3.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of the high-Reynolds number, low turbulence recirculating water tunnel. Ports downstream of honeycomb sections are temperature and static pressure measurements.

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Fig. 2

Test section schematic of the particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurement orientation

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Fig. 3

Test-section inlet power spectra scaled using K41 theory. The dashed line shows the famous k−5/3 slope.

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Fig. 7

Reθ operation range as a function of Rex for a given freestream speed

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Fig. 5

Outer variable (δ, Ue) scaled mean velocity profiles

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Fig. 4

The mean streamwise velocity (u) from x∼0.5m;z=0 scaled with Ue and the test-section height (Hc)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

(a) Scaled momentum thickness versus Reynolds number with the dashed and solid lines being the power-law fit and canonical ZPG flat-plate solution [25], respectively. (b) Inner variable scaled velocity profiles compared to the log-law, u+=lny+/0.41+5.0.



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