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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8584067, 11 pages
Research Article

The Three-Dimensional Velocity Distribution of Wide Gap Taylor-Couette Flow Modelled by CFD

Department of Engineering, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Received 9 October 2015; Revised 1 February 2016; Accepted 2 February 2016

Academic Editor: Ryoichi Samuel Amano

Copyright © 2016 David Shina Adebayo and Aldo Rona. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A numerical investigation is conducted for the flow between two concentric cylinders with a wide gap, relevant to bearing chamber applications. This wide gap configuration has received comparatively less attention than narrow gap journal bearing type geometries. The flow in the gap between an inner rotating cylinder and an outer stationary cylinder has been modelled as an incompressible flow using an implicit finite volume RANS scheme with the realisable model. The model flow is above the critical Taylor number at which axisymmetric counterrotating Taylor vortices are formed. The tangential velocity profiles at all axial locations are different from typical journal bearing applications, where the velocity profiles are quasilinear. The predicted results led to two significant findings of impact in rotating machinery operations. Firstly, the axial variation of the tangential velocity gradient induces an axially varying shear stress, resulting in local bands of enhanced work input to the working fluid. This is likely to cause unwanted heat transfer on the surface in high torque turbomachinery applications. Secondly, the radial inflow at the axial end-wall boundaries is likely to promote the transport of debris to the junction between the end-collar and the rotating cylinder, causing the build-up of fouling in the seal.