Theoretical model of buoyancy-induced flow in rotating cavities

J. Michael Owen, Hui Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (SciVal)


The Ekman-layer equations, which have previously been solved for isothermal source–sink flow in a rotating cavity, are derived for buoyancy-induced flow. Although the flow in the inviscid core is three-dimensional and unsteady, it is assumed that the flow in the Ekman layers is axisymmetric and steady; and, as for source–sink flow, the average mass flow rate in the Ekman layers is assumed to be invariant with radius. In addition, it is assumed that the flow in the core is adiabatic, and consequently the core temperature increases with radius and with rotational speed. Approximate solutions are obtained for laminar flow, and it is shown that the Nusselt numbers for the rotating disks and the mass flow rate in the Ekman layers are proportional to Gr1/4c, where Grc is a Grashof number based on the rotational Reynolds number and the temperature difference between the disk and the core. The equation for the Nusselt numbers, which includes two empirical constants, depends strongly on the radial distribution of the temperature of the disks.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberTURBO-15-1037
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery: Transactions of the ASME
Issue number11
Early online date15 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Theoretical model of buoyancy-induced flow in rotating cavities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this