Precise measurements of torque in von Karman swirling flow driven by a bladed disk

Aryesh Mukherjee, Sergei Lukaschuk, Yuri Burnishev, Gregory Falkovich, Victor Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scrupulous measurements and detailed data analysis of the torque in a swirling turbulent flow driven by counter-rotating bladed disks reveal an apparent breaking of the law of similarity. Potentially, such breakdown could arise from several possible factors, including dependence on dimensionless numbers other than Re or velocity coupling to other fields such as temperature. However, careful redesign and calibration of the experiment showed that this unexpected result was due to background errors caused by minute misalignments which lead to a noisy and irreproducible torque signal at low rotation speeds and prevented correct background subtraction normally ascribed to frictional losses. An important lesson to be learnt is that multiple minute misalignments can nonlinearly couple to the torque signal and provide a dc offset that cannot be removed by averaging. That offset can cause the observed divergence of the friction coefficient C-f from its constant value observed in the turbulent regime. By significant modifications of the setup and conducting the experiment with one bladed disk and precisely aligned the disk, torque meter and motor shaft, we are able to conduct precise measurements close to the expected resolution at small torques at low rotation speeds and to confirm the similarity law in a wide range of Re, in particular, in low viscosity fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-663
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Turbulence
Issue number8
StatePublished Online - 12 Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computational Mechanics


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