The development of a two-dimensional viscous incompressible flow generated from a circular cylinder impulsively started into rectilinear motion is studied computationally. An adaptative numerical scheme, based on vortex methods, is used to integrate the vorticity/velocity formulation of the Navier–Stokes equations for a wide range of Reynolds numbers (Re = 40 to 9500). A novel technique is implemented to resolve diffusion effects and enforce the no-slip boundary condition. The Biot–Savart law is employed to compute the velocities, thus eliminating the need for imposing the far-field boundary conditions. An efficient fast summation algorithm was implemented that allows a large number of computational elements, thus producing unprecedented high-resolution simulations. Results are compared to those from other theoretical, experimental and computational works and the relation between the unsteady vorticity field and the forces experienced by the body is discussed.
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