Side-wall effects on the bifurcation of the flow through a sudden expansion

Yeng-Yung Tsui*, Hong Wen Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional computations have been performed to study the flow through a symmetric sudden expansion with an expansion ratio of 3 at low Reynolds numbers. The aspect ratio of the flow channel is allowed to vary within a wide range to examine its influence on the flow which bifurcates from a symmetric state to an asymmetric state. The results reveal that the critical Reynolds number of the symmetry-breaking bifurcation increases while the aspect ratio is reduced. The flow behaviour near the side walls is illustrated by using limiting streamlines. The origin of the singular points identifiable on the side wall can be traced back to the recirculating flows and the relevant reattachment/separation points in the core of the channel. It is seen that the determination of the exact critical Reynolds number is not trivial because it depends on how to define asymmetric flow. Computations have also been conducted to show that a slight asymmetry in the channel geometry causes a smooth transition from symmetric to non-symmetric states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2008


  • Flow bifurcation
  • Recirculating flows
  • Side-wall effects
  • Symmetry breaking

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