Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Flow along a long thin cylinder


a1 School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK


Two different approaches have been used to calculate turbulent flow along a long thin cylinder where the flow is aligned with the cylinder. A boundary-layer code is used to predict the mean flow for very long cylinders (length to radius ratio of up to O(106)), with the effects of the turbulence estimated through a turbulence model. Detailed comparison with experimental results shows that the mean properties of the flow are predicted within experimental accuracy. The boundary-layer model predicts that, sufficiently far downstream, the surface shear stress will be (almost) constant. This is consistent with experimental results from long cylinders in the form of sonar arrays. A periodic Navier–Stokes problem is formulated, and solutions generated for Reynolds number from 300 to 5×104. The results are in agreement with those from the boundary-layer model and experiments. Strongly turbulent flow occurs only near the surface of the cylinder, with relatively weak turbulence over most of the boundary layer. For a thick boundary layer with the boundary-layer thickness much larger than the cylinder radius, the mean flow is effectively constant near the surface, in both temporal and spatial frameworks, while the outer flow continues to develop in time or space. Calculations of the circumferentially averaged surface pressure spectrum show that, in physical terms, as the radius of the cylinder decreases, the surface noise from the turbulence increases, with the maximum noise at a Reynolds number of O(103). An increase in noise with a decrease in radius (Reynolds number) is consistent with experimental results.

(Received March 20 2007)

(Revised January 11 2008)