Vortex dynamics and forces in the laminar wakes of bluff bodies

dc.contributor.authorMasroor, Syed Emaden
dc.contributor.committeechairStremler, Mark A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberBrons, Mortenen
dc.contributor.committeememberRoss, Shane D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberStaples, Anne E.en
dc.contributor.committeememberPaul, Mark R.en
dc.contributor.departmentEngineering Science and Mechanicsen
dc.description.abstractCoherent vortex-dominated structures in the wake are ubiquitous in natural and engineered flows. The well-known 'von Karman street', in which two rows of counter-rotating vortices develop on the leeward side of a solid body immersed in a fluid, is only one such vortex-based structure in the wake. Recent work on fluid-structure interaction has shown that several other types of vortex structures can arise in natural and engineered systems. The production of these vortex structures downstream often mark the onset of qualitative and/or quantitative changes in the forces exerted on the vortex-shedding body upstream, and can be used as diagnostic tools for engineering structures undergoing Vortex-Induced Vibrations. This dissertation presents a two-part study of vortex dynamics in the laminar wakes of bluff bodies. The first part consists of a series of experiments on a transversely oscillating circular cylinder in a uniform flow field at Re≲250. These experiments were carried out in a gravity-driven soap film channel, which provides a `two-dimensional laboratory' for hydrodynamics experiments under certain conditions. In these experiments, we generated a `map' of the vortex patterns that arise in the wake as a function of the (nondimensional) frequency and amplitude of the cylinder's motion. Our results show that the '2P mode' of vortex shedding can robustly occur in the two-dimensional wake of an oscillating cylinder, contrary to what has been reported in the literature. By making small changes to the meniscus region of the soap film, we have explored possible mechanisms that can explain why the `P+S mode' of vortex shedding is usually reported to be more prevalent than the '2P mode' at low Reynolds number, when the flow is two-dimensional. In doing so, we have found that small modifications to the cylinder on the order of the boundary layer thickness can make a significant difference to the vortex shedding process. In the second part, we develop a generalized form of von Karman's drag law for N-vortex streets: periodic wakes in which the vortices are arranged in regularly-repeating patterns with N>2 vortices per period. The original form of von Karman's drag law then reduces to a special case of this generalized form, which has the potential to model several kinds of vortex-dominated wakes that have been reported in the literature. In this work, we show how this generalized drag law can be used to model '2P' and 'P+S' wakes in both `drag' and `thrust' form. As a contribution to the study of three-dimensional wakes, we also studied a periodic array of vortex rings, which are often used to represent the wakes of marine organisms like jellyfish and squid. We described the problem mathematically using a newly-developed Green's function, and comprehensively examine the fluid physics of such an array of vortex rings as a function of the non-dimensional parameters that govern this phenomenon. In the process, we have discovered a new type of topology that arises in this flow, which may have connections with the `optimal vortex formation length' of vortex rings.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralThe interaction of solid objects with fluids such as water and air, often termed Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI), gives rise to a wide variety of natural phenomena. Understanding FSI is important as an avenue of scientific interest as well as for engineering applications. In this dissertation, we are interested in the subset of FSI phenomena known as wakes: the fluid flow that is left behind when a solid moves rapidly through quiescent fluid, or when water or air flows rapidly past a stationary obstacle. In such situations, the flow is often rapidly rotating, taking the form of vortices or eddies, i.e., concentrated regions of rotating fluid. These eddies, or vortices, can be described mathematically using simple differential equations, and are the subject of the field of vortex dynamics, which is a branch of fluid mechanics. In the first part of this thesis, we have made contributions to the experimental study of FSI and wakes by making use of an experimental technique known as a gravity-driven soap film channel. In these experiments, a 'soap film', i.e., the surface of a soap bubble, is stretched out over a longitudinal channel formed by nylon wires and held taut in a rectangular shape. This rectangular film of soap is only a few micrometers thick, and is continuously fed by soap solution from the top and drained at the bottom, resulting in a steadily-flowing 'channel' of two-dimensional flow. In this experimental setup, we introduce a circular acrylic cylinder to serve as the archetypal 'obstacle' to fluid flow and oscillate it at a range of frequencies and amplitudes while using a high-speed camera to visualize the flow. This gives rise to a fascinating set of qualitatively distinct vortex patterns in the wake, with the structure depending on the selected frequency and amplitude of cylinder oscillation. In the second part of this thesis, we have developed mathematical models of two-dimensional wakes using a system of point vortices and of three-dimensional wakes using a system of circular vortex rings. We show how these idealized mathematical models of rotating flow, i.e., point vortices and vortex rings, can be used as building blocks for physically-plausible models of actually-occurring wakes, including those which were observed in the first part of this work. For two-dimensional wakes, we use Newton's laws applied to a fluid to determine the forces being exerted on a solid body, immersed in a fluid, whose wake takes the form of regularly-repeating vortices known as 'vortex streets'. This allows us to give, for the first time, theoretical predictions of the drag or thrust force associated with vortex streets such as those observed in our experiments.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internationalen
dc.subjectFluid mechanicsen
dc.subjectVortex dynamicsen
dc.subjectFluid-structure interactionen
dc.subjectVortex-induced vibrationsen
dc.titleVortex dynamics and forces in the laminar wakes of bluff bodiesen
thesis.degree.disciplineEngineering Mechanicsen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen


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