Vorticity amplification in wavy viscoelastic channel flow

Jacob Page, Tamer A. Zaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Surface distortions to an otherwise planar channel flow introduce vorticity perturbations. In Newtonian fluids, the vorticity induced by small surface undulations on the lower wall is advected by the background flow and diffuses into the fluid. When the fluid is viscoelastic, we identify new mechanisms by which significant vorticity perturbations can be generated in both inertialess and elasto-inertial channel flows. We focus on the case where the lengthscale of the surface distortion is much longer than the channel depth, where we find significant departure from plane shear (Page & Zaki, J. Fluid Mech. 801 2016) due to the non-monotonic base-flow streamwise-normal elastic stress. In inertialess flows, a purely elastic response results in streamlines deforming to match the bottom topography in the lower half the channel. However, the vanishing stress at the centreline introduces a blocking effect, and the associated O(1) jump in normal velocity is balanced by a large amplitude streamwise-oscillating ‘jet’ in a boundary layer, resulting in a localised, chevron-shaped vorticity perturbation field. In elasto-inertial flows, resonance between the frequency of elasto-inertial ‘Alfven’ waves and the frequency apparent to an observer moving with the fluid results in vorticity amplification in a pair of critical layers on either side of the channel. The vorticity in both layers is equal in magnitude, to leading order in Weissenberg number, and as such the perturbation vorticity field penetrates the full channel depth even when inertia is dominant. The results demonstrate that long-wave distortions—which are relatively innocuous in Newtonian fluids—can drive a significant flow distortion in viscoelastic fluids for a wide range of parameter values.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA14
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date23 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2022


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