Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Unsteady flows in a semi-infinite contracting or expanding pipe

Shigeo  Uchida a1 and Hiroshi  Aoki a1
a1 Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Nagoya University, Chikusa-Ku, Nagoya 464, Japan

Article author query
uchida s   [Google Scholar] 
aoki h   [Google Scholar] 


Physiological pumps produce flows by alternate contraction and expansion of the vessel. When muscles start to squeeze its wall the valve at the upstream end is closed and that at the downstream end is opened, and the fluid is pumped out in the downstream direction. These systems can be modelled by a semi-infinite pipe with one end closed by a compliant membrane which prevents only axial motion of the fluid, leaving radial motion completely unrestricted. In the present paper an exact similar solution of the Navier–Stokes equation for unsteady flow is a semi-infinite contracting or expanding circular pipe is calculated and reveals the following characteristics of this type of flow. In a contracting pipe the effects of viscosity are limited to a thin boundary layer attached to the wall, which becomes thinner for higher Reynolds numbers. In an expanding pipe the flow adjacent to the wall is highly retarded and eventually reverses at Reynolds numbers above a critical value. The pressure gradient along the axis of pipe is favourable for a contracting wall, while it is adverse for an expanding wall in most cases. These solutions are valid down to the state of a completely collapsed pipe, since the nonlinearity is retained in full. The results of the present theory may be applied to the unsteady flow produced by a certain class of forced contractions and expansions of a valved vein or a thin bronchial tube.

(Published Online April 12 2006)
(Received July 28 1976)