Experiments in Fluids

, 59:160 | Cite as

Investigation of a highly underexpanded jet with real gas effects confined in a channel: flow field measurements

  • Benoît FondEmail author
  • Cheng-Nian Xiao
  • Christophe T’Joen
  • Ruud Henkes
  • Peter Veenstra
  • Berend G. M. van Wachem
  • Frank Beyrau
Research Article


This article describes experiments to investigate the fluid-to-wall interaction downstream of a highly underexpanded jet, with a pressure ratio of 120, confined in a channel. Heat transfer induced by Joule-Thomson cooling, which is a real gas effect in such a configuration, has critical implications on the safety of pressurised gas components. This phenomenon is challenging to model numerically due to the requirement to implement a real gas equation of state, the large range of (subsonic and supersonic) velocities, the high turbulence levels and the near-wall behaviour. An experimental setup with simple geometry and boundary conditions, and with a wide optical access was designed and implemented. It consisted of a high-pressure gas reservoir at controlled temperature and pressure, discharging argon through a nozzle into a square channel. This facility was designed to allow for a steady-state expansion from over 120 bar to atmospheric pressure for over 1 min. The choice of fluid, pressure and temperature regulation system, and the implementation of a high pressure particle seeding system are discussed. The gas dynamics of this flow was then investigated by two separate optical techniques. Schlieren measurements were used to locate the position of the Mach disk, and planar particle image velocimetry (PIV) was used to measure the turbulent velocity field in the regions of lower velocity downstream. Mie scattering images also indicated the presence of a condensed argon phase in the supersonic region as expected from previous studies on nucleation. The observed location of the sharp interface at the Mach disk was found to be in excellent agreement with the Crist correlation. Rapid statistics were derived from the PIV measurements at 3 kHz. The recirculation zone was found to extend about 4 channel heights downstream, and in the region between 2 and 3 channel heights downstream, a continuous deceleration on the centerline velocity was observed in line with the narrowing of the recirculation zone. The first and second velocity moments as well as Reynold stresses were quantified, including pdf distributions. In addition, a sensitivity and repeatability analysis, an evaluation of the PIV random uncertainty, as well as an estimation of errors induced by particle inertia were performed to allow for a full quantitative comparison with numerical simulations.

Graphical abstract



The authors are grateful to Paul Bruce (Imperial College London) for discussion on the implementation of the Schlieren measurements, and to Christopher Abram (Universität Magdeburg, currently at Princeton University) for his support in implementing the high speed PIV system.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Process and Systems EngineeringOtto-von-Guericke-Universität MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Shell Global SolutionsAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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