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On the role of subharmonic perturbations in the far wake

  • E. Meiburg (a1) (a2)

Abstract

The possibility of an excitation of individual subharmonic perturbations in each of the shear layers forming the far wake is investigated numerically. Principal considerations allow for the existence of two equivalent subharmonic modes which by opposite routes can lead to a doubling of the wavelength in the wake. Since vortical disturbances in the far wake are amplified only convectively, the simultaneous existence of both modes in the flow field is possible, which could provide an explanation for the group structure observed experimentally in the far wake. These considerations also provide a logical explanation of the finding of a very regular vortex pairing process in forced wakes.

Two-dimensional numerical simulations assuming incompressible flow and almost inviscid dynamics illustrate the opposite developments of regions dominated by the two different modes and also confirm the possibility of a resulting group structure. As an important result it is demonstrated that, if vortex pairing plays an important role in the growth of the far-wake structure, this does not have to be related to the excitation of the subharmonic peak in the frequency spectrum. Quite the contrary, it is to be expected that the subharmonic itself is of minor importance and that instead a small frequency and its multiples related to the group structure of the flow dominate the spectrum. In the light of these considerations measurements by Cimbala (1984) are discussed and frequency spectra recorded by him are analysed more closely. Various properties of these spectra seem to indicate that vortex pairing might be significant with respect to the evolution of the far-wake structure.

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References

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On the role of subharmonic perturbations in the far wake

  • E. Meiburg (a1) (a2)

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