A Floquet stability analysis of the transition to three-dimensionality in the wake of a cylinder forced to oscillate transversely to the free stream has been undertaken. The effect of varying the oscillation amplitude is determined for a frequency of oscillation close to the natural shedding frequency. The three-dimensional modes that arise are identified, and the effect of the oscillation amplitude on their structure and growth rate quantified.
It is shown that when the two-dimensional wake is in the 2S configuration (which is similar to the Kármán vortex street), the three-dimensional modes that arise are similar in nature and symmetry structure to the modes in the wake of a fixed cylinder. These modes are known as modes A, B and QP and occur in this order with increasing Re. However, increasing the amplitude of oscillation causes the critical Reynolds number for mode A to increase significantly, to the point where mode B becomes critical before mode A. The critical wavelength for mode A is also affected by the oscillation, becoming smaller with increasing amplitude. Elliptic instability theory is shown also to predict this trend, providing further support that mode A primarily arises as a result of an elliptic instability.
At higher oscillation amplitudes, the spatio-temporal symmetry of the two-dimensional wake changes and it takes on the P + S configuration, with a pair of vortices on one side of the wake and a single vortex on the other side, for each oscillation cycle. With the onset of this configuration, modes A, B and QP cease to exist. It is shown that two new three-dimensional modes arise from this base flow, which we call modes SL and SS. Both of these modes are subharmonic, repeating over two base-flow periods. Also, either mode can be the first to become critical, depending on the amplitude of oscillation of the cylinder.
The emergence of these two new modes, as well as the reversal of the order of inception of the three-dimensional modes A and B, leads to the observation that for an oscillating cylinder wake there are four different modes that can lead the transition to three-dimensionality, depending on the amplitude of oscillation. Therefore this type of flow provides a good example for studying the effect of mode-order inception on the path taken to turbulence in bluff-body wakes.
For the range of amplitudes studied, the maximum Re value for which the flow remains two-dimensional is 280.