Experiments in rotating plane Couette flow - momentum transport by coherent roll-cell structure and zero-absolute-vorticity state

Takuya Kawata, P. Henrik Alfredsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In spanwise rotating plane Couette flow (RPCF) a secondary flow dominated by three-dimensional roll-cell structures develops. At high enough rotation rates the flow exhibits a state of zero absolute vorticity at the centre of the channel, as described by Suryadi et al. (Phys. Rev. E, vol. 89, 2014, 033003). They suggested that the zero-absolute-vorticity state is caused by the secondary flow motion of the coherent roll-cell structure induced by the Coriolis force. In the present study we focus on the momentum transport caused by the roll-cell structure of laminar RPCF in order to further understand how the zero-absolute-vorticity state is maintained by the coherent roll cells. The flow is studied through stereoscopic particle image velocimetry measurements, which allow both the Reynolds shear stress and the wall shear stress to be quantified and used as measures of the momentum transport across the channel. Various types of roll-cell structures at different system rotation rates and the momentum transport induced by them are investigated, and the processes in which the momentum is transported in the wall-normal direction are discussed based on a displaced-particle argument as well as the production of the Reynolds stresses. It is shown that the wall-normal fluid motion driven by secondary flow of the roll-cell structure induces two different effects on the mean flow which conflict each other, the momentum transport in the wall-normal direction and the Coriolis acceleration, and the zero-absolute-vorticity state is a stable state where these two effects cancel each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-213
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 17
Externally publishedYes


  • nonlinear instability
  • rotating flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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