Linear stability of confined flow around a 180-degree sharp bend

Azan M. Sapardi, Wisam K. Hussam, Alban Pothérat, Gregory J. Sheard

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14 Citations (Scopus)


This study seeks to characterise the breakdown of the steady two-dimensional solution in the flow around a 180-degree sharp bend to infinitesimal three-dimensional disturbances using a linear stability analysis. The stability analysis predicts that three-dimensional transition is via a synchronous instability of the steady flows. A highly accurate global linear stability analysis of the flow was conducted with Reynolds number Re < 1150 and bend opening ratio (ratio of bend width to inlet height) 0.2 ≤ β ≤ 5. This range of Re and β captures both steady-state two-dimensional flow solutions and the inception of unsteady two-dimensional flow. For 0.2 ≤ β ≤ 1, the two-dimensional base flow transitions from steady to unsteady at higher Reynolds number as β increases. The stability analysis shows that at the onset of instability, the base flow becomes three-dimensionally unstable in two different modes, namely a spanwise oscillating mode for β = 0.2 and a spanwise synchronous mode for β ≥ 0.3. The critical Reynolds number and the spanwise wavelength of perturbations increase as β increases. For 1 < β ≤ 2 both the critical Reynolds number for onset of unsteadiness and the spanwise wavelength decrease as β increases. Finally, for 2 < β ≤ 5, the critical Reynolds number and spanwise wavelength remain almost constant. The linear stability analysis also shows that the base flow becomes unstable to different three-dimensional modes depending on the opening ratio. The modes are found to be localised near the reattachment point of the first recirculation bubble.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-847
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017


  • channel flow
  • instability
  • separated flows

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