An experimental and computational comparison of the turbulent flow field for a sharp 90 deg elbow and plugged tee junction is presented. These are commonly used industrial geometries with the tee often retrofitted by plugging the straight exit to create an elbow. Mean and fluctuating velocities along the midplane were measured via two-dimensional (2D) particle image velocimetry (PIV), and the results were compared with the predictions of Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations for Reynolds numbers of 11,500 and 115,000. Major flow features of the elbow and plugged tee were compared using the mean velocity contours. Geometry effects and Reynolds number effects were studied by examining the mean and root-mean-square (RMS) fluctuating velocity profiles at six positions. Finally, the asymmetry of the flow as measured by the position of the centroid of the volumetric flux and pressure loss data were examined to quantify the streamwise evolution of the flow in the respective geometries. It was found that in both geometries there was a large recirculation zone in the downstream leg but the RANS simulations predicted an overly long recirculation which led to significantly different mean and fluctuating velocities in that region when compared to the experiments. Comparison of velocity profiles showed that both experiments and numerics agree in the fact that the turbulence intensities were greater at higher Re downstream of the vertical leg. Finally, it was shown that the plugged tee recovered its symmetry more rapidly and created less pressure loss than the elbow.

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