- Taylor number
fluid dynamics, the Taylor number is a dimensionless quantitythat characterizes the importance of centrifugal "forces" or so-called inertial forces due to rotationof a fluidabout a vertical axis, relative to viscous forces. The typical context of the Taylor number is in characterization of the Couette flow between rotating colinear cylinders or rotating concentric spheres. In the case of a system which is not rotating uniformly, such as the case of cylindrical Couette flowin the case where the outer cylinder is stationary and the inner cylinder is rotating, inertial forces will often tend to destabilize a system, whereas viscous forces tend to stabilize a system and damp out perturbations and turbulence.
On the other hand, in other cases the effect of rotation can be stabilizing. For example, in the case of cylindrical Couette flow with positive Rayleigh discriminant, there are no axisymmetric instabilities. Another example is a bucket of water that is rotating uniformly (i.e. undergoing solid body rotation). Here the fluid is subject to the Taylor-Proudman theorem which says that small motions will tend to produce purely two-dimensional perturbations to the overall rotational flow. However, in this case the effects of rotation and viscosity are usually characterized by the
Ekman numberand the Rossby numberrather than by the Taylor number.
There are various definitions of the Taylor number which are not all equivalent, but most commonly it is given by
where is a characteristic angular velocity, is a characteristic linear dimension perpendicular to the rotation axis, and is the kinematic
In the case of inertial instability such as
Taylor-Couette flow,the Taylor number is mathematically analogous to the Rayleigh number which characterizes the strength of buoyant forces relative to viscous forces in convection. When the former exceeds the latter by a critical ratio, convective instability sets in. Likewise, in various systems and geometries, when the Taylor number exceeds a critical value, inertial instabilities set in, sometimes known as Taylor instabilities, which may lead to Taylor vorticesor cells.
Taylor refers to the British physicist
Geoffrey Ingram Taylor(1886-1975).
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.