Tricritical spiral vortex instability in cross-slot flow

Simon J. Haward, Robert J. Poole, Manuel A. Alves, Paulo J. Oliveira, Nigel Goldenfeld, Amy Q. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We examine fluid flow through cross-slot devices with various depth to width ratios α. At low Reynolds number, Re, flow is symmetric and a sharp boundary exists between the two incoming fluid streams. Above an α-dependent critical value, Rec(α), a steady symmetry-breaking bifurcation occurs and a spiral vortex structure develops. Order parameters characterizing the instability grow according to a sixth-order Landau potential, and show a progression from second- to first-order transitions as α increases beyond a tricritical value of α≈0.55. Flow simulations indicate the instability is driven by vortex stretching at the stagnation point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031101
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 9 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Tricritical spiral vortex instability in cross-slot flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this