Dynamics of trailing vortices in the wake of a generic high-speed train

J. R. Bell, D. Burton, M. C. Thompson, A. H. Herbst, J. Sheridan

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The three-dimensional dynamics of a pair of counter-rotating streamwise vortices that are present in the wake of an ICE3 high-speed train typical of modern, streamlined vehicles in operation, is investigated in a 1/10th-scale wind-tunnel experiment. Velocity mapping, frequency analysis, phase-averaging and proper orthogonal decomposition of data from high-frequency multi-hole dynamic pressure probes, two-dimensional total pressure arrays and one-dimensional multi-hole arrays was performed. Sinusoidal, antisymmetric motion of the pair of counter-rotating streamwise vortices in the wake is observed. These unsteady characteristics are proposed to be representative of full-scale operational high-speed trains, in spite of the experimental limitations: static floor, reduced model length and reduced Reynolds number. This conclusion is drawn from favourable comparisons with numerical literature, and the ability of the identified characteristics to explain phenomena established in full-scale and scaled moving-model experiments. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-256
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Crow instability
  • High-speed train
  • Slipstream
  • Streamwise vortices
  • Unsteady wake
  • Vortex dynamics
  • Vortex shedding

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