Effects of salinity on the onset of elastic turbulence in swirling flow and curvilinear microchannels

Guice Yao, Jin Zhao, Haie Yang, Maje Alhaji Haruna, Dongsheng Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Elastic turbulence, which is sensitive to geometry and polymer rheology, has shown great potential for improving the performance of mixing, heat transfer, and even oil recovery. Recent studies showed the importance of the rheological properties of polymer solutions on the onset of elastic turbulence. However, variations of rheological properties based on polymer sensitivities such as salinity and its corresponding effects on the elastic turbulence have not been revealed. This work investigated systematically the effects of salinity on the onset of elastic turbulence in both swirling flow and curvilinear microchannels. The variations of statistical properties, such as probability distribution functions (PDFs) and power spectral density of injected power (PSD), were analyzed for characterization. The onset conditions of elastic turbulence are postponed by high salinity, which is consistent with the mixing performance in a curvilinear microchannel. A salinity independent power-law exponent at a value of -4.3 is observed in a fully developed elastic regime for all polymer solutions. Particularly, the diffusion of fluorescein at a low flow rate in the microchannel is possible due to the existence of a steady secondary flow before the onset of elastic instability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123106
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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