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W&L Professor Publishes Journal Article in Physics of Fluids Professor Joel Kuehner’s article focuses on film flow inside corrugated pipes.

Joel-Kuehner-scaled-600x400 W&L Professor Publishes Journal Article in Physics of FluidsJoel Kuehner

Joel Kuehner, professor of physics and engineering at Washington and Lee University, recently published an article in the journal Physics of Fluids titled “Gravity-driven film flow inside an inclined corrugated pipe: An experimental investigation of corrugation shape and tip width.”

Kuehner’s article appeared in the Dec. 2022 issue of the journal and is the third publication he and his research program have produced on film flow inside corrugated pipes. Film flow can best be understood by envisioning a corrugated pipe with enough water to fill the troughs and then a steady trickle of water that flows over the crests.

In a previous study, Kuehner’s program demonstrated that this trickle of water created periodic surges of water further down the pipe, and his most recent paper investigates the effects of corrugation shape and thickness on this periodic behavior.

Kuehner’s article is the latest step in a nearly decade-long investigation into film flow in corrugated pipes. His research program focuses on flows that start steady but adapt periodic behavior caused by unknown flow phenomena. The objective is to examine these periodic behaviors and uncover their causes so engineers can design corrugations that either take advantage of or avoid the periodic flow, depending on the purpose.

“These periodic surges are relevant to many areas, such as alluvial plane formation, stepped spillways in dams, air-liquid-interface heat exchanges in industry, and rainwater and streams flowing through corrugated pipes under roadways,” said Kuehner. “The periodic surges can interfere with the intended flow patterns and even lead to dangerous or damaging situations.”

Kuehner has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2004. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania State University and his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests and background focus on applications of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, particularly flows that are easily disturbed by physical measurements and require laser-based measurement methods.

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