PIV mapping of pressure and velocity fields in the plane magnetohydrodynamic Couette flow

Alban Potherat, Brahim Moudjed, Martin Holdsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the first simultaneous mapping of two-dimensional, time-dependent velocity and pressure fields in a plane Couette flow pervaded by a transverse magnetic field. While electromagnetic forces are strongest in fluids of high electric conductivity such as liquid metals, their opacity excludes optical measurement methods. We circumvent this difficulty using a transparent electrolyte (sulphuric acid), whose weaker conductivity is offset by higher magnetic fields. We describe an experimental rig based on this idea, where the Couette flow is entrained by a tape immersed in sulphuric acid and positioned flush onto the bore of large superconducting magnet, so that most of the flow is pervaded by a sufficiently homogeneous transverse magnetic field. Velocity and pressure fields are obtained by means of a bespoke PIV system, capable of recording the fluid’s acceleration as well as its velocity. Both fields are then fed into a finite difference solver that extracts the pressure field from the magnetohydrodynamic governing equations. This method constitutes the first implementation of the pressure PIV technique to an MHD flow. Thanks to it, we obtain the first experimental velocity and pressure profiles in an MHD Couette flows and show that the transitional regime between laminar and turbulent states is dominated by near-wall, isolated, anisotropic perturbations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number255
Number of pages17
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number12
Early online date18 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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