The goal of this study was to determine laminar stagnation pressure loss coefficients for circular ducts in which flow encounters a planar bifurcation. Flow conditions and pressure losses in these laminar bifurcations are of interest in microfluidic devices, in porous media, and in other networks of small ducts or pores. Until recently, bifurcation geometries had been studied almost exclusively for turbulent flow, which is often found in fluid supply and drain systems. Recently, pressure loss coefficients from simulations of a few arbitrary bifurcation geometries in two-dimensions have been published — the present study describes the extension of these two-dimensional simulations to three-dimensional circular ducts. The pressure loss coefficients determined in this study are intended to allow realistic simulation of existing laminar flow networks or the design of these networks. This study focused on a single inlet duct with two outlet ducts, which were allowed to vary in diameter, flow fraction, and angle — all relative to the inlet duct. All ducts considered in this study were circular with their axes in a common plane. Laminar stagnation pressure loss coefficients were determined by simulating incompressible flow through 475 different geometries and flow condition combinations. In all cases, the flow was laminar in the inlet and outlet ducts with a Reynolds number of 15 in the inlet duct. Simulations of the dividing flow geometries were done using FLUENT and a custom written computer code, which automated the process of creating the three-dimensional flow geometries. The outputs, pressure and velocity distributions at the inlet and outlets, were averaged over the circular ducts and then used to calculate pressure loss coefficients for each of the geometries and flow fraction scenarios simulated. The results for loss coefficient for the geometries considered ranged from 2.0 to 70. The loss coefficient for any geometry increased significantly as the outlet flow fraction increased. A consistent increase in loss coefficient was also observed as a function of decreasing outlet duct diameter. Less significant variation of the loss coefficient was observed as a function of the angles of the outlet ducts.

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