Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Effect of confinement on three-dimensional stability in the wake of a circular cylinder


a1 Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Università di Pisa, via G. Caruso N. 8, 56122 Pisa, Italy

a2 Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Università di Salerno, via Ponte don Melillo 1, 84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy


This paper investigates the three-dimensional stability of the wake behind a symmetrically confined circular cylinder by a linear stability analysis. Emphasis has been placed on discussing analogies and differences with the unconfined case to highlight the role of the inversion of the von Kármán street in the nature of the three-dimensional transition. Indeed, in this flow, the vortices of opposite sign that are alternately shed from the body into the wake cross the symmetry line further downstream and they assume a final configuration which is inverted with respect to the unconfined case. It is shown that the transition to a three-dimensional state has the same space–time symmetries of the unconfined case, although the shape of the linearly unstable modes is affected by the inversion of the wake vortices. A possible interpretation of this result is given here.

(Received May 25 2009)

(Revised September 18 2009)

(Accepted September 18 2009)

Key words:

  • circular cylinder;
  • confined wake;
  • Floquet analysis;
  • structural sensitivity;
  • three-dimensional stability;
  • von Kármán street


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