A combined theoretical and experimental study is described in which de-swirl nozzles were used to reduce the radial pressure drop in a rotating cavity with a radial inflow of air. The nozzles, which were attached to the outer part of the cavity, were angled such that the angular speed of the air at inlet could be in the opposite direction to that of the cavity. Solutions of the momentum-integral equations were used to predict the resulting radial distributions of pressure throughout the cavity.
Flow visualization was used to confirm the flow structure, and transducers attached to one of the rotating discs in the cavity were used to measure the radial pressure distributions. Results are presented for ‘swirl fractions’ (that is, the ratio of the angular speed of the air leaving the nozzles to that of the cavity) in the range −0.4 to + 0.9, and for 0.01 < | CW | Reϕ−0.8 < 0.5, where CW and Reϕ, are the nondimensional flow rate and rotational Reynolds number, respectively. The measured pressures are in good agreement with the predicted values, and the pressure drop across the cavity can be significantly less than that associated with solid-body rotation. The flow rate produced by the pressure drop across the cavity is not unique: there are up to three possible values of flow rate for any given value of pressure drop.