Helical vortices in swirl flow

S. V. Alekseenko, P. A. Kuibin, V. L. Okulov, S. I. Shtork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


Helical vortices in swirl flow are studied theoretically and experimentally. A theory of helical vortices has been developed. It includes the following results: an analytical solution describing an elementary helical vortex structure - an infinitely thin filament; a solution for axisymmetrical vortices accounting for the helical shape of vortex lines and different laws of vorticity distribution; a formula for calculation of the self-induced velocity of helical vortex rotation (precession) in a cylindrical tube; an explanation of the zone with reverse flow (recirculation zone) arising in swirl flows; and the classification of vortex structures. The experimental study of helical vortices was carried out in a vertical hydrodynamical vortex chamber with a tangential supply of liquid through turning nozzles. Various vortex structures were formed owing to changing boundary conditions on the bottom and at the exit section of the chamber. The hypothesis of helical symmetry is confirmed for various types of swirl flow. The stationary helical vortex structures are described (most of them for the first time) the features of which agree with the results and predictions of the theoretical model developed. They are the following: a rectilinear vortex; a composite columnar vortex; helical vortices screwed on the right or on the left; a vortex with changing helical symmetry; a double helix - two entangled vortex filaments of the same sign.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-243
Number of pages49
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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