We present an investigation of the stability of liquid metal flow under the influence of an imposed magnetic field by means of a laboratory experiment as well as a linear stability analysis of the setup using the finite element method. The experimental device ZUrich Cylindrical CHannel INstability Investigation is a modified cylindrical annulus with electrically driven flow of liquid GaInSn operating at Hartmann and Reynolds numbers up to M = 2022 and Re = 2.6 . 105, respectively. The magnetic field gives rise to a free shear layer at the prominent inner electrode. We identify several flow regimes characterized by the nature of the instabilities. Above a critical current Ic = O(0.1 A), the steady flow is destabilized by a Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism at the free shear layer. The instability consists of counterrotating vortices traveling with the mean flow. For low forcing, the vortices are restricted to the free shear layer. Their azimuthal wave number m grows with M and decreases with Re. At Re/M ≈ 25, the instability becomes container-filling and energetically significant. It enhances the radial momentum transport which manifests itself in a broadening of the free shear layer width dS. We propose that this transition may be related to an unstable Hartmann layer. At Re/M2 = O(1), an abrupt change is observed in the mean azimuthal velocity 〈μΦ〉 and the friction factor F, which we interpret as the transition between an inertialess and an inertial regime.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics