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Theory Bites: Secondary Flow

Engineering & Design

Theory Bites: Secondary Flow

Theory bites is a collection of basic hydraulic theory and will touch upon pump design and other areas of pump industry knowledge.

In fluid dynamics, a secondary flow is a relatively minor flow superimposed on the primary flow, where the primary flow usually matches very closely the flow pattern predicted using simple analytical techniques that assume the fluid is inviscid.

The primary flow of a fluid, particularly in the majority of the flow field remote from solid surfaces immersed in the fluid, is usually very similar to what would be predicted using the basic principles of physics, and assuming the fluid is inviscid. However, in real flow situations, there are regions in the flow field where the flow is significantly different in both speed and direction to what is predicted for an inviscid fluid using simple analytical techniques. The flow in these regions is the secondary flow. These regions are usually in the vicinity of the boundary of the fluid adjacent to solid surfaces where viscous forces are at work, such as in the boundary layer.

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