The Unsteady Wake of a Circular Cylinder near a Free Surface

  • Paul Reichl
  • Kerry Hourigan
  • Mark Thompson


The behaviour of the wake Strouhal number for flow past a cylinder close to a free surface at both low and moderate Froude numbers is investigated numerically. For the low Froude number case (i.e., gravity-dominated), the results obtained are similar to those for flow past a cylinder close to an adjacent no-slip boundary. As the distance between the wall and the cylinder is reduced, the Strouhal number, as measured from the time varying lift, increases to a maximum at a gap ratio of 0.70. Further gap reduction leads to a rapid decrease in the Strouhal number, with shedding finally ceasing altogether at gap ratios below 0.16. The agreement between the results for a free surface and a no-slip boundary suggests that the mechanism behind the suppression of vortex shedding is common. For flow at a fixed gap ratio and a moderate Froude number, two distinctly different wake states are observed with the flow passing over the cylinder tending to switch from a state of attachment to the free surface, to one of separation from it, and then back again in a pseudo-periodic fashion. Even though there is a significant difference in Reynolds number, the predicted numerical two-dimensional behaviour is found to compare favourably with the experimental observations at higher Reynolds number.

bluff-body flows free surface metastability unsteady wake 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Reichl
    • 1
  • Kerry Hourigan
    • 1
  • Mark Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Fluids Laboratory for Aeronautical and Industrial Research (FLAIR), Department of Mechanical EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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