Hairpin vortex dynamics and polymer-induced turbulent drag reduction

Kyoungyoun Kim, Ronald J. Adrian, S. Balachandar, Radhakrishna Sureshkumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


It has been known for over six decades that the dissolution of minute amounts of high molecular weight polymers in wall-bounded turbulent flows results in a dramatic reduction in turbulent skin friction by up to 70%. While direct numerical simulation of turbulent flow of dilute polymer solutions predicts drag reduction (DR), dynamical interactions between the coherent structures present in turbulent flows and polymer conformation field that could lead to DR are not clearly understood. This is investigated by self-consistent dynamical simulations that track the evolution of hairpin vortices, i.e., counter-rotating pairs of quasi-streamwise vortices whose nonlinear auto-generation, growth, decay and break up are centrally important to turbulence (Reynolds) stress production. It is shown that auto-generation of new vortices is suppressed by the polymer stresses, thereby decreasing the coherent as well as incoherent Reynolds stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIP Conference Proceedings
Number of pages3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event15th International Congress on Rheology - Monterey, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2008Aug 8 2008


Other15th International Congress on Rheology
CountryUnited States
CityMonterey, CA



  • Auto-generation
  • DNS
  • Drag reduction
  • FENE-P model
  • Hairpin vortex
  • Turbulent channel flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Kim, K., Adrian, R. J., Balachandar, S., & Sureshkumar, R. (2008). Hairpin vortex dynamics and polymer-induced turbulent drag reduction. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 1027, pp. 216-218)