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FREE & FORCED VORTICES

MANUAL

Applied Mechanics Laboratory, AM2540 (Fluid Mechanics)


Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras
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Introduction :
A vortex is a spinning, often turbulent, flow of fluid. Any spiral motion with closed streamlines
is vortex flow. In fluid mechanics, a distinction is often made between two limiting vortex
cases. One is called the free vortex, and the other is the forced vortex.
To study the different types of vortices, we will practice some experiments in laboratory. The
objectives of these experiments are to figure out the formation of the vortex (forced and free)
and how they are influenced.

Theory :
A.

Properties of a vortex
o The fluid pressure in a vortex is lowest in the center and rises progressively with
distance from the center. This is in accordance with Bernoulli's Principle.
o The core of every vortex can be considered to contain a vortex line, and every
particle in the vortex can be considered to be circulating around the vortex line.
Vortex lines can start and end at the boundary of the fluid or form closed loops.
They cannot start or end in the fluid. (See Helmholtz's theorems.) Vortices
readily deflect and attach themselves to a solid surface.
o Two or more vortices that are approximately parallel and circulating in the same
direction will merge to form a single vortex. The circulation of the merged
vortex will equal the sum of the circulations of the constituent vortices.
o Vortices contain a lot of energy in the circular motion of the fluid. In an ideal
fluid this energy can never be dissipated and the vortex would persist forever.
However, real fluids exhibit viscosity and this dissipates energy very slowly
from the core of the vortex. (See Rankine vortex). It is only through dissipation
of a vortex due to viscosity that a vortex line can end in the fluid, rather than at
the boundary of the fluid.

B.

Helmholtzs theorems

They describe the three-dimensional motion of fluid in the vicinity of vortex filaments.
These theorems apply to inviscid flows and flows where the influence of viscous forces
is small and can be ignored. Helmholtzs three theorems are as follows:
o Helmholtzs first theorem:
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The strength of a vortex filament is constant along its length.

o Helmholtzs second theorem:


A vortex filament cannot end in a fluid; it must extend to the boundaries of the fluid or
form a closed path.

o Helmholtzs third theorem:


In the absence of rotational external forces, a fluid that is initially irrotational remains
irrotational.

Helmholtzs theorems apply to inviscid flows. In observations of vortices in real fluids


the strength of the vortices always decays gradually due to the dissipative effect of
viscous forces.
Alternative expressions of the three theorems are as follows:
1. The strength of a vortex tube does not vary with time.
2. Fluid elements lying on a vortex line at some instant continue to lie on that
vortex line. More simply, vortex lines move with the fluid. Also vortex lines
and tubes must appear as a closed loop, extend to infinity or start/end at solid
boundaries.
3. Fluid elements initially free of vorticity remain free of vorticity.

C.

Vorticity

A vortex can be any circular or rotary flow. Perhaps unexpectedly, not all vortices
possess vorticity. Vorticity is a mathematical concept used in fluid dynamics. It can be
related to the amount of "circulation" or "rotation" in a fluid. In fluid dynamics,
vorticity is the circulation per unit area at a point in the flow field. It is a vector
quantity, whose direction is (roughly speaking) along the axis of the swirl. The vorticity
of a free vortex is zero whereas the vorticity of forced vortices is non-zero.
Vorticity is an approximately conserved quantity, meaning that it is not readily created
or destroyed in a flow. Therefore, flows that start with minimal vorticity, such as water
in a basin, create vortices with minimal vorticity, such as the characteristic swirling and
approximately free vortex structure when it drains.
By contrast, fluids that initially have vorticity, such as water in a rotating bowl, form
vortices with vorticity, exhibited by the much less pronounced low pressure region at
the center of this flow. Also in fluid dynamics, the movement of a fluid can be said to
be vortical if the fluid moves around in a circle, or in a helix, or if it tends to spin
around some axis. Such motion can also be called solenoidal. In the atmospheric
sciences, vorticity is a property that characterizes large-scale rotation of air masses.
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Since the atmospheric circulation is nearly horizontal, the (3 dimensional) vorticity is


nearly vertical, and it is common to use the vertical component as a scalar vorticity.
Mathematically, vorticity is defined as the curl of the fluid velocity :

The two most common quantities which are used to characterize rotating fluids are:




the vorticity vector

D.

Types of vortex

and

the circulation

A distinction is often made between two limiting vortex cases. One is called the free
(irrotational) vortex, and the other is the forced (rotational) vortex.

a)

Free (irrotational) vortex

When fluid is drawn down a plug-hole, one can observe the phenomenon of a free
vortex or line vortex. The tangential velocity v varies inversely as the distance r from
the center of rotation, so the angular momentum, rv, is constant; the vorticity is zero
everywhere (except for a singularity at the center-line) and the circulation about a
contour containing r = 0 has the same value everywhere. The free surface (if present)
dips sharply as the center line is approached. The tangential velocity is given by:

Where is the circulation and r is the radial distance from the center of the vortex. In
non-technical terms, the fluid near the center of the vortex circulates faster than the
fluid far from the center. The speed along the circular path of flow is held constant or
decreases as you move out from the center. At the same time the inner streamlines have
a shorter distance to travel to complete a ring.

b)

Forced (rotational) vortex

In a forced vortex the fluid essentially rotates as a solid body (there is no shear). The
motion can be realized by placing a dish of fluid on a turntable rotating at (rad/sec);
the fluid has vorticity of 2 everywhere, and the free surface (if present) is a parabola.
The tangential velocity is given by:
Where is the angular velocity and r is the radial distance from the center of the
vortex.
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LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS
Experiment 1: Study of forced vortex without discharge orifice
Objective

Determine the profile surface of a forced vortex without discharge orifice.

Determine the influence of the inlet direction of the fluid in the system.

Determine the influence of the fluid inlet flow in the system.

Equipment

Hydraulic bench (FME00)

Equipment accessories of the forced and free vortex (FME14)

Chronometer

Experimental procedure
Place the equipment in the hydraulic bench FME00 and connect it to Bench with a fast
connector in the taking T1 . Place the blind mouthpiece inside the central hollow in the base of
the cylinder . Introduce the helix with the axis in the mouthpiece, so that it turns correctly.
Close the outlet valve and connect the pump in the bench with VCC closed.
Open gradually the control valve of the hydraulic bench, open the three way valve to the left
so that the water goes into the cylinder from a tangential inlet placed 60 away and so that it
goes out through the injectors.
Start to open the outlet valve of the equipment when the water almost gets to the limit of the
overflow and level the cylinder with that level, unloading inside the volumetric tank. Fill with
water the outlet flexible hose, when it is full, pick up the hose and introduce it by the drain
spillway of the volumetric tank, in order to avoid that the bench pump runs out of the water.
This operation induces a siphon effect that increases the unload speed.
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For each value of flux speed, the outlet valve must be adjusted until the water flows through
the overflow. Place the measure probes through the superior part of the cylinder.
The surface of the profile is determined by lowering the measure probes (needles) until they
touch the surface of the water. Then, taking as a reference the spillway level as zero and the
marks in the needles, we can get to know the depth that each probe has descended. We can also
use the diameter meter, in order to determine the vortex diameter at different levels of depth.
The rotation speed of the helix is measured by timing the number of rotations of the helix using
the axis marked as reference.

The height meter is adjusted to the tank with nylon screws.

The depth of a diameter will be determined by using a needle of the height meter, and
the annexed scale as a reference.

Once the height of the different needles is registered, remove the support of the needles and
repeat the procedure for different inlet flows, graduating the VCC with both inlet pipes (turn
180 the key of the three-way valve).

Results and calculations


Inlet
direction

Time
(s)

r.p.s

POSITION OF THE MEASURES


Edge

110

90

70

50

30

R (mm)
0
X (measured)
Calculated h

X1 = H0 - h

wr/2g
h
h0
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In the experiment, the value of x has been measured for different radius. We can calculate h in
this way:
h = H0 - x [m]
Now, we just have to check that the values obtained adjust to a theoretical curve like the
following one:
h = h0 + w2.r2 /2g [m]

Measure points
Draw a graph with the points experimentally obtained of the vortex at several rotation speeds (
different flows ) and different fluid inlet directions.
Draw a graph and compare the theoretically obtained curves of the surface profile of the vortex
with the forced vortexes which are experimentally determined.

Conclusions

How are the values which are experimentally obtained, in comparison with the
theoretical ones?

What is the effect of the viscosity of the liquid in the formation of the forced vortexes?

What is the effect of the fluid inlet direction in the formation of the vortex?

What is the influence of the inlet flow in the formation of the vortex?

Experiment 2: Determination of the surface and distribution of the total


height of the free vortex

Objectives

Determine the surface of the profile of a forced vortex with discharge orifice

Determine the influence of the fluid inlet direction on the system

Determine the influence of the fluid inlet flow on the system

Determine the influence of the size of the discharge orifice

Determine the influence of the vortex on the discharge flow.

Equipment

Hydraulic bench (FME00)

Accessory of the free vortex equipment

Experimental procedure
Place the equipment inside the work channel of the Hydraulic Bench and connect it to the
bench by the fast connector to T1. Place an orifice mouthpiece inside the center of the cylinder
base. Close the outlet valve of the equipment.
Connect the pump and open gradually the control valve of the bench. Open the three-way inlet
valve so that the water goes into the recipient through the tangential pipes adjusted at 60 and
unload through the orifice inside the volumetric tank.
Adjust the outlet valve until the water flows through the overflow, this keeps the volume
constant. When it is stable, the profile of the vortex is measured as it was indicated in the
previous practice.
Place the measure bridge in the superior part of the cylinder (as it was made with the height
meter) with the Pitot tube of 15 mm radius.

Hold the scale to the Pitot tube and submerge until the measure orifice is approximately 5 mm
away from the profile of the vortex surface. Then, insert in the measurement bridge a needle in
the hole which is 15 mm from the center. With this needle, determine the depth of Pitot tube
taking, as well as the total height of the water column of the Pitot tube (from the taking to the
free surface of the fluid inside the tube). Repeat the experiment with Pitot tubes of 20 mm, 25
mm and 30 mm.
This procedure must be carried out for different inlet flows with the tangential pipe at 60 and
the radial pipe at 15. For it, we must turn 180 the key in the same way, we will proceed to
repeat the experiment for each of the orifices supplied.
In order to study the influence of the vortex on the discharge flow, we will carry out an
additional experiment which is described next: with the tangential pipe at 60, we will proceed
to fill the deposit with one of the supplied orifices. Before the water arrives at the overflow
level, playing with the inlet flow (with the VCC) and the discharge valve, it will try to
approach as much as possible the stationary regime, that is to say, the maximum height
obtained by the fluid surface should keep more or less constant. Once this is obtained, we will
turn the three way valve at 180 so that the water goes inside the radial pipes at 15. Observe
what happens with the water free surface.

Results and calculations


Hereafter, the table of the different measurements of the vortex at several rotation speeds
(experimental and theoretical).

wr/2g
h
h0

We choose to directly measure h.


We can calculate h in this way:
h=h0 - x [cm]
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Now, we just have to check that the values obtained are close to a theoretical curve like the
following one

h = h0 +

Inlet
direction

2r 2
2g

cm

Flow Rate
(lt/hr)

r.p.s

POSITION OF THE MEASURES


Edge

110

90

70

50

Pitot tube radius =

Flow rate (Lt/Hr)

Ht(mm)

HS(mm)

X(mm)

Where:
 Ht is the total height of the water column of the pitot tube
 Hs is the height of the water column over the point of the pitot tube
 X is obtained in this way :
10

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x = Ht - Hs [m] and it corresponds with the fluid kinetic height.


Therefore :x = k2/2.g.r2
From this expression we can obtain k, which must be constant in the system.
We obtain the speed of the fluid in function of the position with the following
expression :
V = K/r

Make the following observations (include in your report) :

Compare the theoretical profile (obtained from the calculated K) with the experimental
one.

What is the effect of the fluid inlet direction in the formation of the vortex?

What is the influence of the inlet flow in the formation of the vortex?

What is the influence of the vortex on the discharge flow?

What is the influence of the orifice size on the vortex?

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