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Trailing vortices in the wakes of surface-mounted obstacles

  • P. J. Mason (a1) and B. R. Morton (a2)


The generation of trailing vortices in the wakes of surface-mounted obstacles at moderate Reynolds numbers is examined by channel-flow experiments and numerical simulation. A skew-mounted obstacle generates a single concentrated trailing vortex, together with weak streamwise vorticity of opposite sense extending to considerable distances on either side and zero gross circulation across the whole stream. Cross-stream-symmetrical obstacles (having a streamwise plane of symmetry normal to the plane surface) generate one or more nested vortex pairs, usually of alternate sense, of which one pair is normally dominant. The sense of rotation of the dominant vortex pair depends on both the shape of the obstacle and its depth relative to that of the boundary layer. Obstacles that divide the stream laterally produce dominant vortex pairs with a central downwash, whereas those lifting the flow predominantly over their crests produce dominant vortex pairs with a central upwash. It is argued that the vorticity of the dominant trailing vortices is generated largely as a component of cross-stream vorticity at the boundary, shed as a shear layer from the body, and turned inertially by the flow to form trailing vortices. It should also be emphasized that the dominant trailing vortex or vortex pair is generally embedded in a weak distribution of trailing vorticity of opposite signs, but with net circulation comparable with that of the dominant core.



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Trailing vortices in the wakes of surface-mounted obstacles

  • P. J. Mason (a1) and B. R. Morton (a2)


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