Flow visualization was performed on a single short elbow piping by means of two-dimensional particle image velocimetry. The piping was designed as a 1/7-scale model of a section of the cold-leg piping of a Japan sodium-cooled fast reactor. This study characterized the periodic motions and flow structures that appeared in and downstream of the elbow and potentially affected flow-induced vibrations. The flow field that related flow separation and frequency characteristics of the flow velocity fluctuation were explored for Reynolds number from 0.3 × 106 to 1.0 × 106, which belonged to the post-critical regime. Experimental results show that flow structures are not strongly dependent on Reynolds number in this range. Frequency analysis for the velocity fluctuation in terms of Strouhal number (St) reveals that there exist not only two kinds of vortices with different shedding periods, but also one periodic flow in the circumferential direction. In the flow separation region, vortices are periodically emitted with St ≈ 0.5, while those with about 1.0 are shed in a shear flow region located between the separation region and the pipe center. Moreover, a periodic motion with St ≈ 0.5 appeared in the circumferential direction in the vicinity near the separation region. These values of St were not strongly dependent on Reynolds number in this study.

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