Using stratification to mitigate end effects in quasi-Keplerian Taylor-Couette flow

Colin Leclercq, Jamie Partridge, Pierre Augier, S B Dalziel, Richard R Kerswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
307 Downloads (Pure)


Efforts to model accretion disks in the laboratory using Taylor–Couette flow apparatus are plagued with problems due to the substantial impact the end-plates have on the flow. We explore the possibility of mitigating the influence of these end-plates by imposing stable stratification in their vicinity. Numerical computations and experiments confirm the effectiveness of this strategy for restoring the axially-homogeneous quasi-Keplerian solution in the unstratified equatorial part of the flow for sufficiently strong stratification and moderate layer thickness. If the rotation ratio is too large, however, (e.g. Ωo/Ωi=(ri/ro)3/2 where Ωo/Ωi is the angular velocity at the outer/inner boundary and ri/ro is the inner/outer radius) the presence of stratification can make the quasi-Keplerian flow susceptible to the stratorotational instability. Otherwise (e.g. for Ωo/Ωi= (ri/ro)1/2) our control strategy is successful in reinstating a linearly-stable quasi-Keplerian flow away from the end-plates. Experiments probing the nonlinear stability of this flow show only decay of initial finite-amplitude disturbances at a Reynolds number Re = O(104). This observation is consistent with most recent computational (Ostilla-M ́onico et al. 2014) and experimental results (Edlund & Ji 2014) at high Re, and reinforces the growing consensus that turbulence in cold accretion disks must rely on additional physics beyond that of incompressible hydrodynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-630
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date24 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • flow control
  • stratified flows
  • Taylor–Couette flow

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using stratification to mitigate end effects in quasi-Keplerian Taylor-Couette flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this