Stability of the wakes of cylinders with triangular cross-sections

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The stability of the wakes of cylinders with triangular cross-sections at incidence is investigated using Floquet stability analysis to elucidate the effects of cylinder inclination on the dominant flow instability. The upper limit of the Reynolds numbers (scaled by the height projected by the cylinder in this study) at which the wake of the two-dimensional base flow is time periodic is for most cylinder inclinations, exceeding which the flow becomes aperiodic, restricting the range of Reynolds numbers permitted for the stability analysis. Two different instability modes are predicted to manifest as the first-occurring mode at various cylinder inclinations - a regular mode possessing perturbation structures consistent with mode A dominates the wakes of cylinders at inclinations and , with a subharmonic mode consistent with mode C emerging as the primary mode in the wakes of the cylinder at the intermediate range of inclinations. For all inclinations, the mode B branch is not detected within the range of Reynolds numbers examined. The peak instability growth rates corresponding to mode A for all cylinder inclinations describe a linear variation with , where is the mode A transition Reynolds number, while those corresponding to mode C vary only approximately linearly. The generalized trend most pertinently shows mode C to develop more rapidly than mode A at inclinations which permit it. Examination of the near wake of the two-dimensional time-periodic base flow demonstrates the dependence of the development and intensity of mode C on imbalances in the flow solution over each shedding period, directly implying that the two-dimensional base flow solutions deviate from the half-period-flip map as the cylinder inclination is increased. The degree of asymmetry of the two-dimensional base flow relative to the ideal half-period-flip map is quantified using several measures. The results show distinctly different trends in these asymmetry measures between inclinations where modes A or C are dominant, agreeing with results from the stability analysis. The nature of the predicted instability modes at transition are also investigated by applying the Stuart-Landau equation, showing the transitions to be supercritical for all cylinder inclinations, with mode C being consistently more strongly supercritical than mode A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-745
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2018


  • instability
  • vortex shedding
  • wakes

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