Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 1231–1245 | Cite as

An experimental investigation of moderate reynolds number flow in a T-Channel

  • Susan Thomas
  • Timothy A. Ameel
Research Article


An experimental investigation of water flow in a T-shaped channel with rectangular cross section (20 × 20 mm inlet ID and 20 × 40 mm outlet ID) has been conducted for a Reynolds number Re range of 56–422, based on inlet diameter. Dynamical conditions and the T-channel geometry of the current study are applicable to the microscale. 2-D planar particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) and laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) were used in multiple locations of the T-channel to investigate local dynamical behaviors. Steady symmetric and asymmetric flow regimes predicted in the literature, which is largely numerical, are experimentally verified. Unsteady flow regimes, which are numerically predicted to occur at higher Re but have not yet been experimentally characterized, are also examined, and real-time LIF results illuminate the evolution of unsteady structure. Experimental data of the present resolution and scope are not presently available for unsteady flow regimes. Time scales are presented for unsteady flow regimes, which are found to exhibit periodic behavior and to occur for Re  ≥ 195. An unsteady symmetrical regime is identified for Re ≥ 350 that is detrimental to mixing. Momentum fields and dynamical behaviors of all flow regimes are characterized in detail, such that published mixing trends may be better understood. Results of all experimental trials were used to construct a regime map. A symmetric topology is found to be dominant for Re from 56 to 116, when flow is steady, and 350 to 422, when flow is characterized by unsteady stagnation-point oscillation in the T-channel junction. Asymmetric flow, which is positively indicated for mixing, is dominant for Re between 142 and 298, and the fluid interface exhibits both steady (two standing vortices) and unsteady (shear-layer type roll-up) behaviors. This result is based on multiple experiments and suggests a practical operating range of 142  ≤ Re ≤ 298 where asymmetric flow is highly likely to experimentally occur. The identification of an upper limit on Re,  beyond which mixing appears negatively impacted by a more symmetrical momentum field, is practically important as pressure drops on the microscale are significant.


Vortex Particle Imaging Velocimetry Outlet Channel Asymmetric Flow Corner Vortex 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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