Site: Institute of Thermophysics
1 Prosp. Lavrentyev
Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Phone: (3832) 355552
Fax: (3832) 357880

Date Visited: October 30, 1995

WTEC Attendees:

H. B. Ali (report author), S. Chechin, J. B. Mooney, L. Gentry


Sergei V. Alekseenko, Deputy Director, Head of Laboratory
Leonid I. Maltzev, Head, Applied Hydrodynamics Lab.
A. G. Malyuga , Research Scientist
N. V. Malykh, Research Scientist
V. M. Kulik, Research Scientist
B. N. Semenov, Research Scientist
V. N. Mamonov, Research Scientist
B. G. Novikov, Research Scientist
N. A. Pribaturin, Research Scientist
V. L. Okulov, Research Scientist
A. R. Evseev, Research Scientist


The Institute of Thermophysics of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1957 as one of the first research institutions of the Novosibirsk Science Center (Akademgorodok). To date it has had three directors; the current director is Academician V. E. Nakoryakov. The institute has a staff of 600, including 200 scientists, approximately half of whom are Ph.D.s, and two academicians. It consists of 10 major departments, comprising 40 laboratories. Its present funding is close to $1 million per year, only a small percentage of this coming from the state.

The Institute of Thermophysics is considered one of the best research institutions in Siberia, perhaps in Russia. It is rated as one of the top three of one hundred Siberian research institutions. The rating is based on the number of scientific papers published, the amount of non-government funds obtained, and the relative number of young personnel on its staff (the average age was quoted as being 40 years).

The major research areas of the institute are the following:

The research is supported by an extensive inventory of experimental equipment -- including wind tunnels, hydrodynamic tunnels, cryogenic test facilities, two phase systems, etc. They also have access to a test facility for hydrodynamic research on Lake Issyk-Kool in the newly-independent state of Kirgisia. A similar facility on the Black Sea (Sevastopol) is now under Ukrainian control, unavailable to the Russians.

The main focus of their industrial (applied) work is heat absorption pumps, which is a major source of income for them (~$3.5 million in Russia). They have contracts with diverse national and international companies, including three with U.S. companies. They have a contract for $600,000 in 1996 for the company Air Products, located in Pennsylvania, to develop cryogenic equipment to produce oxygen by compression and liquefaction. On a small contract (~$100,000) they developed a color jet printer for Hewlett-Packard. The soldering technique, which they developed in only two months, is being patented with another small contract. With General Motors, they developed automobile heat exchangers to remove condensation from under the hood, thereby reducing the problem of corrosion.


During our visit, several researchers, mainly from the Applied Hydrodynamics Laboratory, provided detailed presentations of their work. Much of the research discussed concerned the various approaches to the reduction of drag and noise of underwater vehicles, although hydroacoustics, wakes, vortex technologies, and heat pumps were also touched upon.

Drag and Noise Reduction of Underwater Vehicles

Much effort, involving several researchers, has been devoted to this area, as evidenced by the following list.

Supercavitation (L. Maltzev, L. Guzevsky, B. Novikov)

The Maltzev group has investigated cavity methods of drag reduction and jet control using supercavitation. The cavitation around a body and the stability of the flow was investigated for different Froude numbers and cavity geometries. It was found that instability was reduced when the body geometry was fitted to the geometry of the cavity. Instability was also reduced when water was injected around the cavity boundary using jet methods. These methods have been applied to control the characteristics of hydrofoils and rudders. In particular, a liquid jet introduced tangentially to the suction side of the foil reduced (by a factor of five) the instability, greatly increased the lifting forces, and reduced the drag. L. Guzevsky has developed a numerical method for determining a wide range of planar and axially symmetric cavity flows of ideal fluid.

Injection of Gas Bubbles into the Boundary Layer -- Gas Bubble Saturation (L. Maltzev, A.G. Malyuga)

It is well known that saturation of the fluid boundary layer by gas micro-bubbles can cause skin friction drag reduction. Maltzev has investigated methods of injection of a thin layer of air or an air-water mixture between a ship and its water boundary layer. Instead of injecting gas through porous sections (the customary method), the fluid boundary layer was saturated with micro-bubbles using jet methods of gas injection through a slot. The jet methods were found to have advantages compared with the injection through porous materials, particularly for long, axi-symmetric bodies.

Injection of Polymer Additives (V. Kulik, B. Mironov, B. Semenov, V. Mamonov, A. Malyuga)

It is well known that the addition of high-molecular polymer additives into the near-wall flow reduces drag (Tom's Effect). The group has conducted investigations into various aspects of Tom's Effect, including the effect on turbulent flow of super-molecular structures in polyethylene oxide (PEO) solutions and the effect of aerating (gas bubbles) the high-polymer solution. The researchers demonstrated that in solutions of high-polymer PEO, the destruction of super-molecular structures leads to a minimization of turbulent friction and to a decrease in the mechanical degradation of polymers in the flow. They also concluded that aeration of polymer solutions increases their efficiency. Since storage of polymer material in fluid form is not practical, they have developed effective methods of storage using dry polymer pellets. The polymer solution is prepared by adding water to the pellets; the process then takes seconds to form the solution. These fast-made polymer solutions are more effective and practical than pre-prepared polymers.

Compliant Coatings (B. Semenov, V. Kulik)

The group has conducted investigations into the effect of viscoelastic coatings on the reduction of turbulent boundary layer friction. Studies in this area are at least several decades old and have involved investigations from a number of countries, particularly the United States. The possibility of turbulent drag reductions by compliant coatings apparently first arose from the assumption in bionics that the dolphin's deformable skin allows it to greatly minimize turbulence, even at high speeds. The majority of subsequent studies was carried out on passive coatings, the surface deflection of which is the result of the action of the pressure pulsations of the turbulent flow. In spite of the many earlier investigations, the "physics of coating" was not well understood, and the results were often inconsistent. In large part, the preceding is explained by the fact that many of the earlier experiments failed to characterize the viscoelastic properties and vibration characteristics of the coating materials accurately. For example, the properties were measured only at a single resonance frequency, or over a very narrow frequency band. Further, the general explanation for coating-induced drag reduction, viz. Kramer's hypothesis of energy absorption, could not explain the increase in friction occasionally observed.

Because of the preceding, Semenov, Kulik, et al. conducted systematic experimental and theoretical investigations of the correlations among one-layer viscoelastic coatings and turbulent friction and wall pressure fluctuations. Their studies validated the interference theory of viscoelastic boundary action on near-wall turbulence and also established a number of useful quantitative criteria for the effective performance of drag-reducing coatings.

Laminarization of Boundary Layer

At high Reynolds numbers, laminarization of a boundary layer though the wetted surface results in a significant decrease in total drag, roughly by an order of magnitude. However, at high Reynolds numbers a transition occurs from laminar to turbulent flow. Novikov et al. conducted extensive work in a laboratory wind tunnel and also with towed models in the field in the area of laminarization of a boundary layer via the suction of water through perforated surfaces. Tests were carried out on small-scale perforated shells of models at Reynolds numbers of 1.7 x 107 and 108. The scientists were able to attain a stable, asymptotic, coordinate-independent boundary layer and to achieve marked decreases in both the total and effective drag.


The research efforts in two main areas of hydroacoustics were presented during our visit: ultrasonic synthesis of HPC and shock wave suppression by bubbles.

Ultrasonic Synthesis of HPC (N. Malykh)

Because of their unique properties, heteropolycompounds (HPCs) have numerous practical applications in a number of fields, including analytical chemistry, clinical medicine, electronics, the production of phenole, 2-propanole, 2-butanole, etc. Consequently, Malykh and his colleagues have been investigating alternative methods of synthesizing HPC using ultrasonics. Present methods of HPC production are lengthy (up to 20 days and nights), require power-intensive equipment, and produce wastes (salts of sodium and acids). The method developed by Malykh et al. is based on the effects of nonlinear ultrasonic cavitation on solutions containing solid additives. In particular, metal oxide particles are crushed by shock waves and cumulative microjets at the collapse and resonance frequencies of vapor-gas bubbles on and near the particle surfaces. Along with the crushing, heating, and mixing, activation of the reagents occurs during the cavitation and associated processes. The method developed results in reduced processing time, removes ecologically harmful wastes, and uses less energy.

Shock Suppression by Bubbles (N. Malykh)

Traditional methods of protection of structures against shock waves are generally based on either the use of sound absorbing materials or on the reinforcement of the structures. Malykh has investigated an alternative approach, using a shield of bubbles that act as a barrier against the shock wave. The bubbles greatly reduce the amplitude of the incoming shock wave by, in essence, absorbing its energy at bubble resonance. In reality, the process is somewhat more complex, involving nonlinear pulsations of the bubble. Malykh has demonstrated that the effective thickness of the bubble layer depends upon the duration and amplitude of the shock wave and the parameters of the layer (gas concentration, bubble sizes, and the bubble void fraction within the layer).

Vortex Technologies

(Alekseenko, Okulov, etc.)

In the area of turbulence research, an important goal is the understanding of coherent structures (or organized motions). It has long been known that turbulence in shear flows is not a purely stochastic process but includes numerous well-defined structures whose formation and evolution depend strongly on the interaction and decay of vortices at various scales. Interest in these structures derives, in part, from their fundamental importance, not only in hydrodynamics, but also in other branches of natural science. Further, these structures are the basis of many phenomena and applications in swirling flow technology.

Alekseenko, Okulov, and their colleagues have conducted numerous experimental and theoretical investigations of vortex structures, particularly swirl flows. Swirl flows are widely used to intensify heating, energy separation, and mass transfer in power machines, such as tangential flow combustion chambers, cyclones, centrifugal burners, etc. The physical mechanisms of swirl flow and their associated applications are as follows:

Among the large-scale vortex structures examined by the Alekseenko group are the following: the rotating helical vortex, the stationary rectilinear vortex, the stationary right-hand helical vortex (screwed along the flow rotation) and left-hand vortex (screwed contrary to the flow rotation), double stationary helical structures, and the stationary vortex with transition from the right-hand helical symmetry to the left-hand one. Their investigations have included the first observation and description of a steady-state, two-spiral structure of interacting vortex filaments of common sign. Figures 2.18 and 2.19 show a number of the vortex structures studied by the group.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are used for the production of hot water for space heating, for heating and cooling technologies in power generation and other industries, and in other applications. The Institute of Thermophysics has performed extensive studies in this area and, as already noted, heat pumps form the focus of their industrial work. Particular emphasis has been placed on Absorption Lithium Bromide heat pumps (ALHP) and transformers (ALHT). They have also investigated environmentally friendly fluorocarbons, R-236 and R-227, as working substances in heat pumps and refrigerators. Since these substances are inactive with ozone, non-toxic, and chemically inert, they are safe substitutes for Freon.


The Institute of Thermophysics is one of the leading research institutions in Russia. Like most of the other research institutions, its funding has been adversely affected by Perestroika. However, they have demonstrated a surprising degree of entrepreneurial initiative by successfully marketing their products and capabilities. At present, only a small percentage of their annual budget is provided by the government. Since our visit, the institute has submitted proposals to continue research in six of the areas discussed in this site report to the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

The institute has extensive experimental facilities and equipment but suffers from the lack of modern equipment which is expensive to purchase abroad. They have a good local computer network (HP equipped) and an impressive publishing capability. Their work has been reported in a substantial number of English publications.

[figure 2_18]
Fig. 2.18. Vortex structures studied (a).

[figure 2_19]
Fig. 2.19. Vortex structures studied (b).


"Absorption lithium bromide heat transformers." Institute of Thermophysics publication. Date of publication unknown.

Alekseenko, S. V. 1995. "Study of environmental protective fluorocarbons as a working substance in heat pumps and refrigerators." Short (2-page) description.

Alekseenko, S. V., and S. I. Shtork. 1992. "Swirling flow large-scale structures in a combustor model." Russian Journal of Engineering Thermophysics Vol. 2, pp. 231-266.

Alekseenko, S. V., and S. I. Shtork. 1994. "Experimental observation of an interaction of vortex filaments." JETP Lett. Vol. 59, No. 11, pp. 775-780.

Alekseenko, S. V., P.A. Kuibin, V. L. Okulov, and S. I. Shtork. 1994. "The characteristics of swirl flows with helical symmetry." Tech. Phys. Lett. 20(9), pp. 737-739.

Alekseenko, S. V., P.A. Kuibin, V. L. Okulov, and S. I. Shtork. 1995. "Large-scale vortex structures in intensively swirling flows." Proceedings, Experimental and Numerical Flow Visualization, FED-Vol. 218, pp. 181-188.

"ALHP - 2000G. absorption lithium bromide heat pumps on gaseous fuel." Institute of Thermophysics publication. Date of publication unknown.

Borisov, An. A., B. P. Mironov, B. G. Novikov, V. D. Fedosenko. 1989. "Wake flows in dilute polymer solutions," Structure of Turbulence of Drag Reduction (A. Gyr, ed.), pp. 249-255, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.

Borodyllin, V. Yu., N. V. Malykh, and V. M. Petrov. 1995. "Nonlinear effects of ultrasonic cavitation in a catalyst production process," Shock Waves @ Marseilles II (R. Brun and L. Z. Dimitrescu, eds.), pp. 137-140, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.

Borisov, A. A., P. A. Kuibin, and V. L. Okulov. 1993. "Spinning and normal combustion of a gas in a twisting flow, " Tech. Phys. Lett. 19(7), pp. 438-440.

Borisov, A. A., P. A. Kuibin, and V. L. Okulov. 1994. "Calculation of the Ranque effect in the vortex tube ." Acta Mechanica [Suppl] 4, pp. 289-295, Springer-Verlag.

Derzho, O. G., and N. V. Malykh. 1990. "Formation of stronger pressure pulses reflected from water-bubble layers." Arch. Mech., 42, 4-5, pp. 403-473, Poland.

Guzevsky, L. G. 1992. "Calculation of axially symmetric cavity flows." Russian Journal of Engineering Thermophysics, Vol. 2, pp. 193-212.

Kozhukharov, P. G., V. M. Hadjimikhalev, V. I. Mikuta, and L. I. Maltzev. 1985. "Hydrofoil performance control introducing tangential liquid jet." Jets and Cavities International Symposium, pp. 67-74, FED-Vol. 31, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, NY.

Kuibin, P.A., and V. L. Okulov. 1994. "Determination of the precession frequency of a helical vortex." Tech. Phys. Lett. 20(4), pp. 274-275.

Kulik, V. M., I. S. Poguda, and B. N. Semenov. 1991. "Experimental investigation of one-layer viscoelastic coatings action on turbulent friction and wall pressure pulsations." Recent Developments in Turbulence Management, (K. S. Choi, ed.), pp. 263-289, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

Kulik, V. M., and B. N. Semenov. "Initial section of time-dependence of the Tom's effect for solutions of polyethylene oxide," op. cit., pp. 309-321.

Kutatenadze, S. S., B. P. Mironov, B. G. Novikov, and W. D. Fedosienko. 1986. "Stereophotometry of unsteady turbulent free flows." Arch. Mech., 38, 5-6, pp. 595-609, Poland.

Lugovstov, A. A. "Analytical techniques for the problem of the interaction of nonlinear sonic waves with nonuniform media," op. cit., pp. 151-154.

Maltzev, L. I. 1995. "Jet methods of gas injection into fluid boundary layer for drag reduction." Applied Scientific Research, 54, pp. 281-291, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

Malykh, N. V. 1994. "Wave form of short shock wave reflected from bubble layers in water." Journal de Physique IV, C5, pp. 1121-1124.

Malykh, N. V. "'Resonance solitons' in a bubbly liquid." op. cit., pp. 147-150.

Malyuga, A. G. and V. Bogdevich. 1991. "Drag reduction by optimization of distributed gas injection into the turbulent boundary layer," Physics of Fluids (submitted, 1995). Some results also appeared in: Bogdevich, V., A. Malyuga, and G. Gergev, "Air bubble saturation of the near wall in ship hydrodynamics," Int. Symp. on Hydro- and Aerodynamic Engineering. HADMAR-91, vol. 2, pp. 78.1-78.9. Varna.

Malyuga, A. G., V. Mikata, and A. Nenashev. 1989. "Local drag reduction at flow of polymer solutions aerated by air bubbles," Proceedings, 6th National Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Vol. 74, pp. 1-6.

Malyuga, A. G., and Mikuta V. 1992. "Local drag reduction at flow by polymer additives in combination with micro-bubbles," 7th European Drag Reduction Working Meeting, Germany.

Migirenko, G. S., B. G. Novikov, and T. B. Novikova. 1995. "Laminarization of a boundary layer via the suction of medium through perforated surfaces." Russian Journal of Engineering Thermophysics, Vol. 5, pp. 77-101.

Okulov, V. L. 1995. "The velocity field induced by helical vortex filaments with cylindrical or conical supporting surface." Russian Journal of Engineering Physics, Vol. 5, pp. 63-75.

Semenov, B. N. "On conditions of modeling and choice of viscoelastic coatings for drag reduction." op. cit., pp. 241-262.

Semenov, B. N. "The pulseless injection of polymeric additives into near-wall flow and perspectives of drag reduction." op. cit., pp. 293-308.

Semenov, B. N., A. I. Amirov, V. M. Kulik, and O. N. Marennikova. 1990. "Effect of supermolecular structures in PEO solutions on drag reduction." Arch. Mech., 42(6), pp. 639-647, Poland.

Published: August 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian