Reverse Flow Regions in Three-Dimensional Backward-Facing Step Flow


Laser-Doppler velocity measurements adjacent to the bounding walls of three-dimensional (3-D) backward-facing step flow are performed for the purpose of mapping the boundaries of the reverse flow regions that develop in this geometry (adjacent to the sidewalls, the flat wall and the stepped wall) as a function of the Reynolds number. The backward-facing step geometry is configured by a step height (S) of 1 cm, which is mounted in a rectangular duct having an aspect ratio (AR) of 8:1 and an expansion ratio (ER) of 2.02:1. Results are presented for a Reynolds number range between 100 and 8000, thus covering the laminar, transitional and turbulent flow regimes. The boundaries of the reverse flow regions are identified by locating the streamwise coordinates on a plane adjacent to the bounding walls where the mean streamwise velocity component is zero. The size of the reverse flow regions increases and moves further downstream in the laminar flow regime; decreases and moves upstream in the transitional flow regime; and remains almost constant or diminishes in the turbulent flow regime; as the Reynolds number increases. The spanwise distribution of the boundary line for the reverse flow region adjacent to the stepped wall develops a minimum near the sidewall in the laminar flow regime, but that minimum in the distribution disappears in the turbulent flow regime. Predictions agree well with measurements in the laminar flow regime and reasonably well in the turbulent flow regime.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


United States. Department of Energy

Keywords and Phrases

3-D; Laser-Doppler; Step Flow; Three-Dimensional

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2004 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2004