Flow behaviour and thermal separation mechanism on vortex tubes have been studied numerically. Rapid expansion indicated by high-pressure gradient near the inlet and the exit ports contributes to energy separation on the parallel and the counter flow vortex tubes. It creates a cooling process at the core region and drives an internal and rotational energy transfer to the peripheral region, then increases the gas temperature at the periphery along with friction due to the presence of the confined wall. Static temperature is related to static pressure in such a way that low pressure leads to the low static temperature at the same region inside the vortex tube. On the other hand, the high total temperature is found in the region with the low dynamic velocity. For both vortex tubes, the flow fields are mainly governed by the tangential velocity at the periphery and by the axial velocity at the core region. The maximum Mach number values based on the maximum tangential velocities in the inlet area for the counter and the parallel flow vortex tubes are 0.689 and 0.726, respectively, so both are compressible and subsonic flows. For the same size of geometry and boundary conditions, the parallel flow vortex tube has higher COP than the counter flow vortex tube i.e. 0.26 and 0.25, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1099
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thermal Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Flow field
  • Numerical study
  • Thermal separation
  • Vortex tube


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