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Engineering Science and Technology, an International Journal ■■ (2016) ■■–■■

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Engineering Science and Technology,
an International Journal Press: Karabuk University, Press Unit
ISSN (Printed) : 1302-0056
ISSN (Online) : 2215-0986
ISSN (E-Mail) : 1308-2043

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Full Length Article

Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high
Reynolds number by k-ε modelling
Prasun Dutta *, Sumit Kumar Saha, Nityananda Nandi, Nairit Pal
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, Howrah 711103, India


Article history: The present paper makes an effort to find the flow separation characteristics under high Reynolds number
Received 7 October 2015 in pipe bends. Single phase turbulent flow through pipe bends is investigated using k-ε turbulence model.
Received in revised form After the validation of present model against existing experimental results, a detailed study has been
15 December 2015
performed to study the influence of Reynolds number on flow separation and reattachment. The sepa-
Accepted 15 December 2015
Available online
ration region and the velocity field of the primary and the secondary flows in different sections have been
illustrated. Numerical results show that flow separation can be clearly visualized for bend with low cur-
vature ratio. Distributions of the velocity vector show the secondary motion clearly induced by the
90° pipe bend movement of fluid from inner to outer wall of the bend leading to flow separation. This paper provides
k-ε turbulence model numerical results to understand the flow characteristics of fluid flow in 90° bend pipe.
Turbulent flow Copyright © 2015, The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Karabuk
Flow separation University. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

1. Introduction testimony to this fact. A number of researchers have investigated
turbulent flows in pipe bends by means of theoretical, experimen-
Pipe bends are the most important part of any pipeline network tal and numerical methods [4–9]. To perform numerical simulation
system as these provide flexibility in routing. Investigations of the of fluid flow in curved pipes, on the other hand, the Navier–Stokes
flow through bends are of great significance in understanding and equation has to be expressed in curvilinear or body fitted coordi-
improving their performance and minimizing the losses. It is already nate system. A very useful database for direct numerical simulation
well known that the flow of incompressible viscous fluids through (DNS) and large eddy simulation (LES) on pipe bend is provided by
pipe bends is characterized by flow separation, secondary flow and two studies [10,11]. Recently, in the nuclear sector due to the fatigue
unsteadiness, which are dependent on Reynolds number as well as by the unsteady motion of the vortices, this has also attracted the
the radius of curvature of the bend. Whenever a fluid flows through interest of the researchers [2,12,13]. Hence, it is interesting to see
a bend, there is a radial pressure gradient developed by the cen- the flow separation and reattachment under high Reynolds number.
trifugal force acting on the fluid. Because of this, a double spiral flow Micro and nano size particle erosion in 90° pipe bend and over the
field and a pair of counter-rotating vortices can also be observed backward-facing steps were studied numerically [14–18]. Very re-
inside the bend i.e. because of the presence of pressure gradient, cently, studies on turbulent mixed convection heat transfer [19–25]
fluid at the centre of pipe moves towards the outer side and comes attracted the interest of investigators; many researchers used Lattice
back along the wall towards the inner side. Now if the bend cur- Boltzmann methods to solve natural convection heat transfer problem
vature ratio is very small (Rc/D ≤ 1.5), the adverse pressure gradient [26,27]. Magneto hydrodynamic flow (MHD) has attracted much in-
near the inner wall and immediately downstream of the bend may terest of researchers in recent years due to the effect of magnetic
lead to flow separation, giving rise to a large increase in pressure field on the boundary layer flow control [28–33]. Different exact and
losses [1–3]. However, the flow characteristics of incompressible flows approximate techniques have also been used to solve the different
in pipe bends are not fully clarified yet. Accurate estimation of mass problems in fluid mechanics [34–38]. In this paper, the flow sep-
flow rate and losses is critical for most incompressible flow systems. aration in the most common 90° pipe bend is studied by numerical
The applications of water-flows through pipe bends are found in methods based on computational fluid dynamics. The paper is struc-
many engineering applications. Some of the excellent reviews bear tured in the following fashion. Section 1 gives a brief idea on the
previous research works and motivation for the present work. Section
2 contains the necessary theoretical background. Problem defini-
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 33 2668–4561 to 63 (Extn.: 277).
tion with validation is provided in section 3. Section 4 contains the
E-mail address: (P. Dutta). study on various parameters affecting the flow pattern and is fol-
Peer review under responsibility of Karabuk University. lowed by summary bulletin of the study under section 5.
2215-0986/Copyright © 2015, The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Karabuk University. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-
ND license (

Please cite this article in press as: Prasun Dutta, Sumit Kumar Saha, Nityananda Nandi, Nairit Pal, Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high Reynolds number
by k-ε modelling, Engineering Science and Technology, an International Journal (2016), doi: 10.1016/j.jestch.2015.12.005

our model and simulation represents eddy viscosity. the accuracy needed.jestch. The turbulence model needs to be selected based on some considerations.09 σ κ = 1. The mean Please cite this article in press as: Prasun Dutta.85 million The problem that is considered here is the fluid flow through hexahedron elements. the attempt for the specific problem by other researchers.1..2015. For the validation of our present model. the capabilities and limitations of turbulence models. cases. the direction from inner core to outer core of the bend is y-coordinate and the perpendicular direction to x and y is ∂ ( p ε ) ∂ ( p εui ) ∂ ⎡ μt ∂k ⎤ ε ε2 + = ⎢ ⎥ + C 1ε 2μt E ij E ij − C 2ε ρ (4) z-coordinate. these are as follows geometrical configuration is adopted. the physics of the flow. Nairit Pal. Nityananda Nandi. The right choice of a turbulence model is critical when an industrial turbu- lent flow problem is faced. The governing equations for incompressible fluid flow with con- stant properties are ∂u i =0 (1) ∂x i ∂u i ∂u i 1 ∂p ∂ 2ui +uj = fi − +υ (2) ∂t ∂x j ρ ∂x i ∂x j ∂x j Equations (1) and (2) are conservations of mass and momen. Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high Reynolds number by k-ε modelling. The bend geometry and mesh are shown in Fig. the turbulence density (ρ) of 990. Schematic diagram of the bend geometry and present model with compu- tational grid. the authors C μ = 0. an International Journal ■■ (2016) ■■–■■ 2.1.92 of the previously mentioned studies used a circular cross sec- tioned 90° bend with a curvature ratio (R c /D) of 2 and the measurements of velocities were performed at a Reynolds number 3.g.01 m with curvature ratio study. etc. The value of non-dimensional distance from wall (Rc/D) = 1 for different Reynolds numbers ranging from 1 × 105 to (Y+) is strictly controlled using standard wall treatment function 10 × 105.12. e. which needs an accurate mod- elling. It is defined that the axial direction downstream the bend is x-coordinate. doi: 10. The default under relaxation factors were used to aid convergence for all models. with a pressure velocity coupling achieved using SIMPLE algorithm. Sumit Kumar Saha. Governing equations and numerical methodology (a) Three dimensional Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations are solved using the segregated implicit solver. In this model. the insight into Fig. 1a and b re- + = + 2μt E ij E ij − ρε (3) ∂t ∂x i ∂x j ⎢⎣ σ k ∂x j ⎥⎦ spectively. E ij represents component of rate of deformation. 1. set up 50D for all cases to save computational time. 1a.2 kg/m3 and dynamic viscosity (μ) of 0. Turbulence model It is well known that turbulent flows are basically designated by the fluctuations of the velocity fields. Dutta et al. (b) tum. which was optimized via a grid-independence ∂ ( pk ) ∂ ( pkui ) ∂ ⎡ μt ∂k ⎤ study. The second order scheme is used for the U-RANS equations calculations. and μt At the very beginning of our study. 2. ∂t ∂x i ∂x j ⎣ σ ε ∂x j ⎦ k k 3. they are very difficult and computationally crucial to analyse directly in industrial engineer- ing calculations. In their experiment.2647 kg/m3 and dynamic viscosity turbulence model performs better for both single-phase and two- (μ) of 1. The fluid medium The k-ε turbulence model is adopted for the present study as k-ε was air having density (ρ) of 1. see Fig.005 . Problem definition of 6 × 104.39–43]. The time step size used in the present study is 0. The inlet length of straight pipe in the calculations was (30 < Y+ < 90 for a near wall cell used for present study).001 s with 1000 time steps. which was optimized via a grid-independence 90° pipe bends having inner diameter of 0.7. the simulation is performed on a computational mesh containing total 2.44 C 2ε = 1. Three dimensional structured mesh was used containing hexa- Transport equation for k-epsilon hedron elements. fi is a vector representing external forces. For that intension. same [44]. Validation where ui represents velocity component in corresponding direc- tion. Different transported quan- tities such as momentum./Engineering Science and Technology. υ is the kinematic viscosity.0006 kg/m-s kinetic energy (k) and the turbulence dissipation rate (ε) are solved for the present study with working temperature of 300 K in both to determine the coefficient of turbulent viscosity (μt).30 C 1ε = 1. also fluctuate for this fluctuation of velocity field and these fluctuations can be of very high frequency and small scale.00 σ κ = 1.45]. especially when this problem involves three dimensional flow phenomena.1016/j. setup are first validated against the existing experimental and nu- Equations (3) and (4) also consist of some adjustable constants merical data in References [3.983 × 10−5 kg/m-s for validation purpose and water having phase flows in pipe bend [3. respectively.00 σ ε = 1. energy. the available computational resources. ARTICLE IN PRESS 2 P. Engineering Science and Technology. an International Journal (2016). and time.

It is found that with the increase of Reynolds number. Rc/D = 1. The Fig.45]. core of the bend was seen clearly. It is found that velocity fluctuation is maximum in both x and y di- rections at the separation region. the peak position is almost Fig. In the tively. central plane and at the bend outlet (α = 90°) for Re = 1 × 105. the intensity of fluctuation is higher in the x direction. 7 for bend with Rc/D = 1 at different Reynolds numbers. reattachment point. As mentioned above.2015.1016/j. another study has been made to under- stand the dependency of separation and reattachment points on Reynolds number. trifugal force with high velocity and pressure gradient on the flow. It was found that the starting point of flow sep- aration moves upstream in the bend as Reynolds number increases. Nairit Pal. Hence.13]. a flow separation region was found at the inner core of bend outlet. This region is concluded to be Fig. bulent flow in a 90° pipe bend through numerical simulation. axial velocity profile normalized with inlet velocity along symme.005 . 5 shows the normalized velocity fields for two different Reyn- results of the mean velocity profile. The negative r values represent the inner core of the bend and SP. this procedure of mesh generation and simulation set up has been Fig. Comparison of normalized axial velocity profile of present analysis with published experimental and numerical results. 4 shows the normalized flow velocity vector fields at the used for further analysis. Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high Reynolds number by k-ε modelling. The mean velocity is shifted upward due to the faster 4. Engineering Science and Technology. recent study [3]. ARTICLE IN PRESS P. velocity fluctuation and sepa. Nityananda Nandi. Non-dimensional fluctuating velocities Urms and Vrms. At the The main objective of the present study is to characterize the inner core of the bend. The Urms profiles do not show much Reynolds number dependency. two identical counter rotating Dean vortices were also found for both Reynolds numbers. the velocity profile at the inner core of the pipe bend tries to recover This discrepancies may arise due to the adverse pressure gradient its fully developed shape by decelerating and accelerating effects near the inner wall of the bend and this is also consistent with a at the outer and the inner parts of the pipe bend respectively. The rms velocity fluctuations at bend outlet in the x and y di- rections are depicted in Fig. Negative values of r represent the inner core of the bend. while the reattachment point moves downstream. doi: 10. 6 shows various starting points of flow sep- aration from the bend inlet and corresponding reattachment points from the bend outlet. as expected.jestch. Normalized velocity profiles at different positions in the bend for different Re. Sumit Kumar Saha. try line at bend outlet (α = 90°) shows very good agreement with middle point between separation and reattachment points respec- both experimental and numerical results [3. see Fig. it has been seen that the it may be speculated for higher values of the Reynolds number that model is in close approximation with the published results. This trend corre- sponds to the dependency of Reynolds number on the total pressure loss [45] and consistent with experimental results in References [2. hence. and the flow was highly unsteady and complex. 3. The low velocity region near the inner presented in this section. a region having very low velocity was found effect of Reynolds number on flow separation of single phase tur. pipe curvature effects are reducing. Dutta et al. the separated region [46]. Sec- ondary flow pattern can clearly be observed in this section. MP represent positions of separation point. an International Journal ■■ (2016) ■■–■■ 3 (a) (b) Fig./Engineering Science and Technology.7. The top ration reattachment points for different Reynolds numbers along of the each figure is the outer core of the bend and the bottom is the different positions of the bend in central symmetry plane are the inner core of the bend. an International Journal (2016). same for all measurements but the peak value is high for higher Please cite this article in press as: Prasun Dutta. Results and discussions moving fluid near the outer core as expressed in Reference [7]. Because of the relation between the cen- locity (Uin) for different Reynolds numbers (Re = 1 × 105 to 10 × 105). RP. Velocity acceleration is depicted at the outer core of the bend inner core region of the bend (negative X-axis in Fig. 3 shows the mean velocity profile normalized with inlet ve. From the validation part. normalized by the mean flow velocity in x and y directions re- spectively.12. however. olds numbers (Re = 1 × 105 & 10 × 105) at the bend outlet. 2. 2b. some dis. crepancies between experimental and numerical data are observed.). Fig.

Please cite this article in press as: Prasun Dutta. doi: 10. (a) Separation points. ARTICLE IN PRESS 4 P.12.2015. Nairit Pal. Sumit Kumar Saha. (b) Cross section at bend outlet (∝ = 90°). (b) Re = 10 × 105. (b) Reattachment points. Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high Reynolds number by k-ε modelling. an International Journal (2016).005 . Normalized velocity vector field. (a) (b) Fig. Dutta et al. (a) (b) Fig. Dependency of separation and reattachment points on Reynolds number. 4. 6. (a) Symmetry plane (centre cross section). 5.1016/j.jestch./Engineering Science and Technology. Engineering Science and Technology. Nityananda Nandi. an International Journal ■■ (2016) ■■–■■ (a) (b) Fig. (a) Re = 1 × 105. Normalized velocity vector field for Re = 1 × 105 and Rc/D = 1.

a very complicated fluid structure is formed pendency can be observed. (a) rms in x direction. an International Journal ■■ (2016) ■■–■■ 5 (a) (b) Fig. (a) Cross sectional planes for flow visualization.12.1016/j. an International Journal (2016). As mentioned earlier. Dutta et al.005 . Nityananda Nandi. Nairit Pal. 8. Reynolds number./Engineering Science and Technology. ARTICLE IN PRESS P. (d) Circumfer- ential flow from outer core to inner core. Complex flow structure in the pipe bend. by the movement separation region and the acceleration of flow ve- creasing Reynolds number. (b) Flow at symmetry plane. Numerical study on flow separation in 90° pipe bend under high Reynolds number by k-ε modelling. 8a (a) (b) (c) (d) Fig. (b) rms in y direction. 8a–d shows the complex flow motions in the bend. Please cite this article in press as: Prasun Dutta. For the Vrms profiles.2015. The peak value becomes larger and at the downstream of bend outlet due to the flow fluctuation induced shifted from the inner core towards the centre of the bend with in. locity. doi: 10. rms profiles of velocity fluctuations at the bend outlet. a clear Reynolds number de. Fig. Sumit Kumar Saha.jestch. (c) Flow in separated region. Engineering Science and Technology. 7. Fig.

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