The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of tapering upon the tendency of flow to become turbulent in straight symmetric tubes. Velocity was measured with a laser Doppler anemometer in plexiglass tubes which tapered 0.5 deg, 1.5 deg, and 2.5 deg measured from the centerline to the wall. These angles were comparable to the angles of tapering observed in the abdominal aorta of normal subjects, 1.5 deg ± 0.2 deg (mean ± SEM) (range 0 deg to 3 deg). The transition Reynolds number (based on the diameter of the tube at the piont of measurement) increased as the angle of tapering increased. When the angle of tapering was constant, the transition Reynolds number increased with increasing distance into the tapered section. These observations suggest that tapering of the abdominal aorta tends to promote laminar flow.

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