The onset of unsteadiness of two-dimensional bodies falling or rising freely in a viscous fluid: a linear study

Abstract : We consider the transition between the steady vertical path and the oscillatory path of two-dimensional bodies moving under the effect of buoyancy in a viscous fluid. Linearization of the Navier-Stokes equations governing the flow past the body and of Newton's equations governing the body dynamics leads to an eigenvalue problem, which is solved numerically. Three different body geometries are then examined in detail, namely a quasi-infinitely thin plate, a plate of rectangular cross-section with an aspect ratio of 8, and a rod with a square cross-section. Two kinds of eigenmodes are observed in the limit of large body-to-fluid mass ratios, namely 'fluid' modes identical to those found in the wake of a fixed body, which are responsible for the onset of vortex shedding, and four additional 'aerodynamic' modes associated with much longer time scales, which are also predicted using a quasi-static model introduced in a companion paper. The stability thresholds are computed and the nature of the corresponding eigenmodes is investigated throughout the whole possible range of mass ratios. For thin bodies such as a flat plate, the Reynolds number characterizing the threshold of the first instability and the associated Strouhal number are observed to be comparable with those of the corresponding fixed body. Other modes are found to become unstable at larger Reynolds numbers, and complicated branch crossings leading to mode switching are observed. On the other hand, for bluff bodies such as a square rod, two unstable modes are detected in the range of Reynolds number corresponding to wake destabilization. For large enough mass ratios, the leading mode is similar to the vortex shedding mode past a fixed body, while for smaller mass ratios it is of a different nature, with a Strouhal number about half that of the vortex shedding mode and a stronger coupling with the body dynamics.
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Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2012, vol. 690, pp. 173-202. 〈10.1017/jfm.2011.419〉
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Pauline Assemat, David Fabre, Jacques Magnaudet. The onset of unsteadiness of two-dimensional bodies falling or rising freely in a viscous fluid: a linear study. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2012, vol. 690, pp. 173-202. 〈10.1017/jfm.2011.419〉. 〈hal-00908868〉

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