Solutions of flexible high-molecular-weight polymers or some kinds of surfactant can be viscoelastic fluids. The elastic stress is induced in such viscoelastic fluids and grow nonlinearly with the flow rate and results in many special flow phenomena, including purely elastic instability in the viscoelastic fluid flow. The elastic flow instability can even result in a special kind of turbulent motion, the so-called elastic turbulence, which is a newly discovered flow phenomenon and arises at arbitrary small Reynolds number. In this study, we experimentally investigated the peculiar flow phenomena of viscoelastic fluids in several different microchannels with curvilinear geometry by visualization technique. The viscoelastic working fluids were aqueous solutions of surfactant, CTAC/NaSal (cetyltrimethyl ammonium chloride/Sodium Salysilate). CTAC solutions with weight concentration of 200 ppm (part per million) and 1000 ppm, respectively, at room temperature were tested. For comparison, water flow in the same microchannels was also visualized. The Reynolds numbers for all the microchannel flows were quite small (for solution flows, the Reynolds numbers were smaller than 1) and the flow should be definitely laminar for Newtonian fluid. It was found that the regular laminar flow patterns for low-Reynolds number Newtonian fluid flow in different microchannels were strongly deformed in solution flows: either asymmetrical flow structures or time-dependent vortical flow motions appeared. These phenomena were considered to be induced by the viscoelasticity of the CTAC solutions.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.