Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1295–1306 | Cite as

Critical Reynolds number and galloping instabilities: experiments on circular cylinders

  • N. NikitasEmail author
  • J. H. G. Macdonald
  • J. B. Jakobsen
  • T. L. Andersen
Research Article


The current paper considers large galloping-like vibrations of circular cylinders, generically inclined and yawed to the flow. The case of a round section prone to galloping is seemingly a paradox since rotational symmetry (or close to it) and classical galloping are apparently contradictory. Still there seems to be a range of wind speeds far from those for typical Kármán vortex shedding resonance where such a phenomenon does occur. Experimental results from both static and dynamic large-scale rigid cable models, presented here, show that this range coincides with the critical Reynolds number regime, where notable symmetry-breaking characteristics such as nonzero mean lift emerge. It is shown that a fundamental difference between the inclined and non-inclined cylinder aerodynamics may exist accommodating different pressure distributions and different resulting dynamic behaviours. Unsteady pressure measurements showing avalanche-like “jumps” and vortex dislocations building between cell structures in the cylinder spanwise direction are conjectured to be a key element in the unstable behaviour experienced.


Reynolds Number Wind Tunnel Proper Orthogonal Decomposition Drag Reduction Critical Reynolds Number 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The important contributions of Mike Savage, Guy Larose, Brian McAuliffe and the technical staff at NRC are gratefully acknowledged. The tests were funded by NRC, EPSRC (via an Advanced Research Fellowship of the second author), the University of Stavanger and StatoilHydro ASA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Nikitas
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. H. G. Macdonald
    • 1
  • J. B. Jakobsen
    • 2
  • T. L. Andersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Structural Engineering and Material ScienceUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway

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