Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The effects of surface roughness and tunnel blockage on the flow past spheres

Elmar  Achenbach a1
a1 Institut für Reaktorbauelemente der Kernforschungsanlage Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany

Article author query
achenbach e   [Google Scholar] 


The effect of surface roughness on the flow past spheres has been investigated over the Reynolds number range 5 × 104 < Re < 6 × 106. The drag coefficient has been determined as a function of the Reynolds number for five surface roughnesses. With increasing roughness parameter the critical Reynolds number decreases. At the same time the transcritical drag coefficient rises, having a maximum value of 0·4.

The vortex shedding frequency has been measured under subcritical flow conditions. It was found that the Strouhal number for each of the various roughness conditions was equal to its value for a smooth sphere. Beyond the critical Reynolds number no prevailing shedding frequency could be detected by the measurement techniques employed.

The drag coefficient of a sphere under the blockage conditions 0·5 < ds/dt < 0·92 has been determined over the Reynolds number range 3 × 104 < Re < 2 × 106. Increasing blockage causes an increase in both the drag coefficient and the critical Reynolds number. The characteristic quantities were referred to the flow conditions in the smallest cross-section between sphere and tube. In addition the effect of the turbulence level on the flow past a sphere under various blockage conditions was studied.

(Published Online March 29 2006)
(Received December 7 1973)