Numerical investigation of near-wake characteristics of cavitating flow over a circular cylinder

Aswin Gnanaskandan, Krishnan Mahesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


A homogeneous mixture model is used to study cavitation over a circular cylinder at two different Reynolds numbers (Re = 200 and 3900) and four different cavitation numbers (σ = 2:0, 1.0, 0.7 and 0.5). It is observed that the simulated cases fall into two different cavitation regimes: cyclic and transitional. Cavitation is seen to significantly influence the evolution of pressure, boundary layer and loads on the cylinder surface. The cavitated shear layer rolls up into vortices, which are then shed from the cylinder, similar to a single-phase flow. However, the Strouhal number corresponding to vortex shedding decreases as the flow cavitates, and vorticity dilatation is found to play an important role in this reduction. At lower cavitation numbers, the entire vapour cavity detaches from the cylinder, leaving the wake cavitation-free for a small period of time. This low-frequency cavity detachment is found to occur due to a propagating condensation front and is discussed in detail. The effect of initial void fraction is assessed. The speed of sound in the free stream is altered as a result and the associated changes in the wake characteristics are discussed in detail. Finally, a large-eddy simulation of cavitating flow at Re = 3900 and σ =1:0 is studied and a higher mean cavity length is obtained when compared to the cavitating flow at Re=200 and σ =1.0. The wake characteristics are compared to the single-phase results at the same Reynolds number and it is observed that cavitation suppresses turbulence in the near wake and delays three-dimensional breakdown of the vortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-491
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Mar 10 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Cambridge University Press.


  • cavitation
  • vortex dynamics
  • wakes


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical investigation of near-wake characteristics of cavitating flow over a circular cylinder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this