We examine fluid flow through cross-slot devices with various depth to width ratios α. At low Reynolds number, Re, flow is symmetric and a sharp boundary exists between the two incoming fluid streams. Above an α-dependent critical value, Rec(α), a steady symmetry-breaking bifurcation occurs and a spiral vortex structure develops. Order parameters characterizing the instability grow according to a sixth-order Landau potential, and show a progression from second- to first-order transitions as α increases beyond a tricritical value of α≈0.55. Flow simulations indicate the instability is driven by vortex stretching at the stagnation point.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics