Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 April 2006
This paper describes an experimental investigation of transport processes in the near wake of a circular cylinder at a Reynolds number of 140000. The flow in the first eight diameters of the wake was measured using X-array hot-wire probes mounted on a pair of whirling arms. This flying-hot-wire technique increases the relative velocity component along the probe axis and thus decreases the relative flow angle to usable values in regions where fluctuations in flow velocity and direction are large. One valuable fringe benefit of the technique is that rotation of the arms in a uniform flow applies a wide range of relative flow angles to the X-arrays, making them inherently self-calibrating in pitch. An analog circuit was used to generate an intermittency signal, and a fast surface-pressure sensor was used to generate a phase signal synchronized with the vortex-shedding process. The phase signal allowed sorting of the velocity data into 16 populations, each having essentially constant phase. An ensemble average for each population yielded a sequence of pictures of the instantaneous mean flow field, with the vortices frozen as they would be in a photograph. In addition to globally averaged data for velocity and stress, the measurements yield non-steady mean data (in the sense of an average a t constant phase) for velocity, intermittency, vorticity, stress and turbulent-energy production as a function of phase for the first eight diameters of the near wake. The stresses were resolved into a contribution from the periodic motion and a contribution from the random motion at constant phase. The two contributions are found to have comparable amplitudes but quite different geometries, and the time average of their sum (the conventional global Reynolds stress) therefore has a quite-complex structure. The non-steady mean-vorticity field is obtained with good resolution as the curl of the non-steady mean-velocity field. Less than half of the shed circulation appears in the vortices, and there is a slow decay of this circulation for each shed vortex as it moves downstream. In the discussion, considerable emphasis is put on the topology of the non-steady mean flow, which emerges as a pattern of centres and saddles in a frame of reference moving with the eddies. The kinematics of the vortex-formation process are described in terms of the formation and evolution of saddle points between vortices in the first few diameters of the near wake. One important conclusion is that a substantial part of the turbulence production is concentrated near the saddles and that the mechanism of turbulence production is probably vortex stretching at intermediate scales. Entrainment is also found to be closely associated with saddles and to be concentrated near the upstream-facing interface of each vortex.