Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor

Fernando Ponta

Abstract

The focus of the current dissertation is to study qualitatively the underlying physics of vortex-shedding and wake dynamics in long aspect-ratio aerodynamics in incompressible viscous flow through the use of the KLE method. We carried out a long series of numerical experiments in the cases of flow around the cylinder at low Reynolds numbers. The study of flow at low Reynolds numbers provides an insight in the fluid physics and also plays a critical role when applying to stalled turbine rotors. Many of the conclusions about the qualitative nature of the physical mechanisms characterizing vortex formation, shedding and further interaction analyzed here at low Re could be extended to other Re regimes and help to understand the separation of the boundary layers in airfoils and other aerodynamic surfaces. In the long run, it aims to provide a better understanding of the complex multi-physics problems involving fluid-structure-control interaction through improved mathematical computational models of the multi-physics process. Besides the scientific conclusions produced, the research work on streamlined and bluff-body condition will also serve as a valuable guide for the future design of blade aerodynamics and the placement of wind turbines and hydrakinetic turbines, increasing the efficiency in the use of expensive workforce, supplies, and infrastructure.

After the introductory section describing the main fields of application of wind power and hydrokinetic turbines, we describe the main features and theoretical background of the numerical method used here. Then, we present the analysis of the numerical experimentation results for the oscillatory regime right before the onset of vortex shedding for circular cylinders. We verified the wake length of the closed near-wake behind the cylinder and analysed the decay of the wake at the wake formation region, and then studied the St-Re relationship at the Reynolds numbers before the wake sheds compared to the experimental data. We found a theoretical model that describes the time evolution of the amplitude of fluctuations in the vorticity field on the twin vortex wake, which accurately matches the numerical results in terms of the frequency of the oscillation and rate of decay. We also proposed a model based on an analog circuit that is able to interpret the concerning flow by reducing the number of degrees of freedom. It follows the idea of the non-linear oscillator and resembles the dynamics mechanism of the closed near-wake with a common configured sine wave oscillator. This low-dimensional circuital model may also help to understand the underlying physical mechanisms, related to vorticity transport, that give origin to those oscillations.

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