Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 February 2014
We consider the interaction of two identical disks freely falling side by side in a fluid at rest for Reynolds numbers ranging from 100 to 300, corresponding to rectilinear and oscillatory paths. For the three aspect ratios of the disks investigated, we observed that the bodies always repel one another when the horizontal distance between their centres of gravity is less than 4.5 diameters. They never come closer for distances spanning between 4.5 and 6 diameters. Beyond the latter distance, the disks appear indifferent to each other. For both rectilinear and periodic paths, the repulsion effect is weak, leading to an overall horizontal drift lower than 3 % of the vertical displacement. We propose a model for the repulsion coefficient Cr, which decreases with the separation distance between the bodies and is inversely proportional to the aspect ratio of the bodies, Cr thus being stronger for the thicker ones. Furthermore, in the case of the oscillatory paths, we show that the effect of the interaction reduces to the repulsion effect, since the characteristics of the oscillatory motion of each disk appear unaffected by the presence of the companion disk and no synchronization is observed between the paths, nor between the wakes, of the two disks.