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Experimental and numerical study on energy separation in vortex tube with a hollow helical fin (Joint research)

Kureta, Masatoshi   ; Yamagata, Yoji*; Miyakoshi, Ken*; Mashii, Tatsuya*; Miura, Yoshiaki*; Takahashi, Kazunori*

To enhance energy separation in a counter-current Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube, a newly designed hollow helical fin was inserted into the hot tube of the vortex tube. In this study, the effect of the fin on the energy separation was investigated using three types of the vortex tube, and then computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation has been conducted to understand the experimental results and discuss the flow structure in the vortex tube with the hollow helical fin. As a result, it was found from the experimental data that the fin effectively enhanced energy separation, and that the tube length could be shorten. When the inlet air pressure was 0.5 MPa, the maximum temperature difference from the inlet to the cold exit was 62.2$$^{circ}$$C. The CFD code employing the Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) turbulence model was used to analyze the fluid dynamics in the vortex tube. As a result, it was confirmed that the temperature, velocity, and pressure distributions changed significantly at the stagnation point, and that the distributions in the tube with the fin were completely different from those without the fin. It was thought that a strong reversing helical vortex flow with small recirculating vortex structure formed between the fin end and the stagnation point on the cold exit side would enhance energy separation in the vortex tube with the hollow helical fin.

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