Effects of Wavelength on Vortex Structure and Turbulence Kinetic Energy Transfer of Flow over Undulated Cylinders

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Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Passive flow control is commonly used on bluff bodies for drag and oscillating lift reduction across a range of engineering applications. This research explores a spanwise undulated cylinder inspired by seal whiskers that is shown to reduce hydrodynamic forces when compared to smooth cylinders. Although the fluid flow over this complex geometry has been documented experimentally and computationally, investigations surrounding geometric modifications to the undulation topography have been limited, and fluid mechanisms by which force reduction is induced have not been fully examined. Five variations of undulation wavelength are simulated at Reynolds number Re=250 and compared with results from a smooth elliptical cylinder. Vortex structures and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) transfer in the wake are analyzed to explain how undulation wavelength affects force reduction. Modifications to the undulation wavelength generate a variety of flow patterns including alternating vortex rollers and hairpin vortices. Maximum force reduction is observed at wavelengths that are large enough to allow hairpin vortices to develop without intersecting each other and small enough to prevent the generation of additional alternating flow structures. The differences in flow structures modify the magnitude and location of TKE production and dissipation due to changes in mean and fluctuating strain. Decreased TKE production and increased dissipation in the near wake result in overall lower TKE and force reduction. Understanding the flow physics linking geometry to force reduction will guide appropriate parameter selection in bio-inspired design applications.


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