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Geometric scaling of elastic instabilities in the Taylor–Couette geometry: A theoretical, experimental and numerical study

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-90
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of non-Newtonian fluid mechanics
Early online date4 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


We investigate the curvature-dependence of the visco-elastic Taylor–Couette instability. The radius of curvature is changed over almost a decade and the critical Weissenberg numbers of the first linear instability are determined. Experiments are performed with a variety of polymer solutions and the scaling of the critical Weissenberg number with the curvature against the prediction of the Pakdel–McKinley criterion is assessed. We revisit the linear stability analysis based on the Oldroyd-B model and find, surprisingly, that the experimentally observed scaling is not as clearly recovered. We extend the constitutive equation to a two-mode model by incorporating the PTT model into our analysis to reproduce the rheological behaviour of our fluid, but still find no agreement between the linear stability analysis and experiments. We also demonstrate that that conclusion is not altered by the presence of inertia or viscous heating. The Pakdel–McKinley criterion, on the other hand, shows a very good agreement with the data.

    Research areas

  • Elastic instability, Finite gap, Geometric scaling, Linear stability analysis, Pakdel–McKinley criterion, Taylor–Couette

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