Dynamics of vortices in complex wakes: modeling, analysis, and experiments
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The thesis develops singly-periodic mathematical models for complex laminar wakes which are formed behind vortex-shedding bluff bodies. These wake structures exhibit a variety of patterns as the bodies oscillate or are in close proximity of one another. The most well-known formation comprises two counter-rotating vortices in each shedding cycle and is popularly known as the vk vortex street. Of the more complex configurations, as a specific example, this thesis investigates one of the most commonly occurring wake arrangements, which consists of two pairs of vortices in each shedding period. The paired vortices are, in general, counter-rotating and belong to a more general definition of the 2P mode, which involves periodic release of four vortices into the flow. The 2P arrangement can, primarily, be sub-classed into two types: one with a symmetric orientation of the two vortex pairs about the streamwise direction in a periodic domain and the other in which the two vortex pairs per period are placed in a staggered geometry about the wake centerline. The thesis explores the governing dynamics of such wakes and characterizes the corresponding relative vortex motion. In general, for both the symmetric as well as the staggered four vortex periodic arrangements, the thesis develops two-dimensional potential flow models (consisting of an integrable Hamiltonian system of point vortices) that consider spatially periodic arrays of four vortices with their strengths being +/-1 and +/-2. Vortex formations observed in the experiments inspire the assumed spatial symmetry. The models demonstrate a number of dynamic modes that are classified using a bifurcation analysis of the phase space topology, consisting of level curves of the Hamiltonian. Despite the vortex strengths in each pair being unequal in magnitude, some initial conditions lead to relative equilibrium when the vortex configuration moves with invariant size and shape. The scaled comparisons of the model results with experiments conducted in a flowing soap film with an airfoil, which was imparted with forced oscillations, are satisfactory and validate the reduced order modeling framework. The experiments have been performed by a collaborator group at the Department of Physics and Fluid Dynamics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), led by Dr. Anders Andersen. Similar experiments have also been run at Virginia Tech as part of this dissertation and the preliminary results are included in this treatise. The thesis also employs the same dynamical systems techniques, which have been applied to study the 2P regime dynamics, to develop a mathematical model for the P+S mode vortex wakes, with three vortices present in each shedding cycle. The model results have also been compared favorably with an experiment and the predictions regarding the vortex circulation data match well with the previous results from literature. Finally, the thesis introduces a novel concept of clean and renewable energy extraction from vortex-induced vibrations of bluff bodies. The slow-moving currents in the off-shore marine environments and riverine flows are beyond the operational capabilities of the more established hydrokinetic energy converters and the discussed technology promises to be a significant tool to generate useful power from these copiously available but previously untapped sources.
- Doctoral Dissertations