Control of vortex breakdown by addition of near-axis swirl

Hyder S. Husain, Vladimir Shtern, Fazle Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We present a new method for controlling vortex breakdown (VB) via addition of co- or counter-rotation near the axis. Co-rotation is adequate to totally suppress VB, whereas counter-rotation increases the number and size of VB "bubbles" and makes the flow unsteady. We study these effects in a closed cylindrical container, in which a rotating end disc drives the base flow; an independently rotating central rod (with rod radius≪disk radius) is employed to control VB. This flow, being free of ambient disturbances, is well suited for understanding both the VB mechanism and its control; the present work appears to be the first to study VB control. We develop and explain our control strategy using flow visualization and simple analytical reasoning. Our results suggest that an additional co- or counter-rotation, applied near the vortex axis, can be effective in suppressing or enhancing VB in practical flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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