Elastic turbulence in a curvilinear channel flow

Yonggun Jun, Victor Steinberg

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We report detailed quantitative studies of elastic turbulence in a curvilinear channel flow in a dilute polymer solution of high molecular weight polyacrylamide in a high viscosity water-sugar solvent. Detailed studies of the average and rms velocity and velocity gradients profiles reveal the emergence of a boundary layer associated with the nonuniform distribution of the elastic stresses across the channel. The characteristic boundary width is independent of the Weissenberg number Wi and proportional to the channel width, which is consistent with the findings our early investigations of the boundary layer in elastic turbulence in different flow geometries. The nonuniform distribution of the elastic stresses across the channel and appearance of the characteristic spatial scales of the order of the boundary layer width of both velocity and velocity gradient in the correlation functions of the velocity and velocity gradient fields in a bulk flow may suggest that excessive elastic stresses, concentrated in the boundary layer, are ejected into the bulk flow similar to jets observed in passive scalar mixing in elastic turbulence observed recently. Finally, the experimental results show that one of the main predictions of the theory of elastic turbulence, namely, the saturation of the normalized rms velocity gradient in the bulk flow of elastic turbulence contradicts the experimental observations both qualitatively and quantitatively in spite of the fact that the theory explains well the observed sharp power-law decay of the velocity power spectrum. The experimental findings call for further development of theory of elastic turbulence in a bounded container, similar to what was done for a passive scalar problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056325
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2011


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