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J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn.

121 (2013) 16–28

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Wind Engineering

and Industrial Aerodynamics
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jweia

Suppression of vortex shedding on a bluff body

Alex Mendonça Bimbato a,n, Luiz Antonio Alcântara Pereira a, Miguel Hiroo Hirata b
Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Itajuba, Itajuba, CP 50, Minas Gerais, Brazil
State University of Rio de Janeiro, FAT-UERJ, Resende, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Previous experimental observations suggest that a moving ground can be numerically simulated
Received 13 January 2013 avoiding vorticity generation on it. In this research line the current paper presents a two-dimensional
Received in revised form Lagrangian Vortex Method, which is able to analyze the vortex shedding suppression on a circular
27 June 2013
cylinder near a moving ground in a high Reynolds number flow of Re ¼ 1:0  105 . The main purpose is to
Accepted 30 June 2013
utilize numerical results to construct the instantaneous velocity and pressure fields for this kind of
unsteady viscous flow. The analyses demonstrate that the physical mechanisms involved are associated
Keywords: with an additional circulation caused by the fluid viscosity and with the Venturi effect. Both of these
Vorticity transport effects are responsible for the increase in lift force as well as for the decrease in drag force acting on body
Strouhal number
Blockage effect
& 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Vortex shedding suppression
Lagrangian Vortex Method with LES

1. Introduction where f is the vortex structures shedding frequency. Bearman (1984)

stated that it is the presence of two shear layers, rather than the bluff
Bluff bodies are present in many engineering problems in all body itself, that is primarily responsible for vortex shedding frequency.
range of applications, starting from the smallest to the biggest A particular interesting situation occurs when a circular cylin-
scales. The cooling of electronic components is a good example of der is close to a plane boundary; it can be observed that as the
the small scale application. In the intermediate scales it can be cylinder comes close to the ground for gap ratios (gap, h, between
mentioned that the aerodynamic loads acting on vehicles, cables the bottom of the cylinder and the wall to the diameter, d, of the
and towers of power transmission lines and the flow over heat cylinder) around h=d ≤0:2 the vortex shedding frequency
exchanger tubes. And, as examples of large scale applications, there decreases until its suppression. According to Zdravkovich (1981)
are a lot of flows around offshore structures and large buildings. “the complexity of the phenomena involved is reflected in a
The flow around bluff bodies is associated to interesting fluid distinct variation and almost limitless modification of the flow
dynamics phenomena such as separation, vortex shedding and pattern is affected by the Reynolds number, turbulence level,
turbulence transition; these phenomena arouse many questions of surface roughness, three-dimensionality, and elastic response”.
scientific interest, have great impact on engineering applications and The present study is motivated not only by academic purpose
are the starting point for the development of instabilities, which arise but because this phenomenon is desired in many practical situa-
due to the interaction among three regions of the flow: the boundary tions. Some particular motivating applications, where are identi-
layer, the two shear layers created at the separation points and the fied the ground effect mechanisms, are aerodynamic designs of
wake that develops downstream of the body. The rate at which Wing-In-Ground effect Vehicles (WIGV), bluff bodies in close
vortices are cyclically shed from the body depends essentially on the proximity to the ground and submarine cables of offshore industry
interaction between the two shear layers, before mentioned, as subject to Vortex Induced Vibrations (Wooton et al., 1972).
function of the oncoming velocity, U, and the body diameter, d. Taneda (1965) studied the influence of the distance between
The non-dimensional Strouhal number is the parameter used to the cylinder and the moving ground at Re ¼ 170 using a water
measure the vortex shedding frequency and it is defined as tunnel. In these tests the ground had the same speed as the water
flow; a decrease in the vortex shedding frequency was observed
fd when the gap ratio was less than 0.1.
St ¼ ; ð1Þ
U Bearman and Zdravkovich (1978) performed velocity measure-
ments to study the vortex shedding frequency in a high Reynolds
n number flow of Re ¼ 4:8  104 when the cylinder is close to a fixed
Corresponding author. Tel.: +5535 3629 1299; fax: +5535 3629 1148.
E-mail address: ground. The authors verified a constant value for the Strouhal
alexbimbato@yahoo.com.br (A. Mendonça Bimbato). number (St≅0:2) for any value of the gap ratio h=d o0:3.

0167-6105/$ - see front matter & 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 17

Unlike the results of Bearman and Zdravkovich (1978), Buresti Discrete Vortex Method is one of the numerical methods used for
and Lanciotti (1979) measured the Strouhal number when the computer simulation of turbulent fluid flows. For 25 years Discrete
cylinder is near to a fixed ground at Re ¼ 1:9  105 and found a Vortex Method has been successfully used on wind engineering and
critical gap ratio of h=dc ¼ 0:4 and a Strouhal number about industrial aerodynamic problems (e.g., Bienkiewicz and Kutz (1990);
0.2 when h=d 4 0:4. It was concluded that the critical gap ratio Turkiyyah et al. (1995); Alcântara Pereira et al. (2004); Rasmussen
and the Strouhal number depend on the flow regime and it seems et al. (2010)).
to be impossible to define exact values for these variables. In unsteady flows, the vorticity-containing regions move
However, it can be stated that for high Reynolds number flows around and deform with time, and it is much more difficult to
the Strouhal number decreases as the gap ratio decreases. resolve numerically the ever-changing vorticity field using a fixed
As shown by Lei et al. (1999), it is difficult to accurately grid. On the other hand, this work discretizes the vorticity field
determine the critical gap ratio, because experiments and numer- present in the fluid domain using discrete vortices, which are
ical simulations are carried out using discrete gap ratios and the followed individually throughout the numerical simulation. Failure
vortex shedding suppression occurs as the gap ratio is gradually to resolve vorticity with Eulerian methods gives rise to significant
reduced. numerical dissipation, which results primarily from truncation
Zdravkovich (2003) reported the drag behavior for a cylinder errors associated with discretization of the nonlinear convective
placed near a moving ground running at the same speed as the term. Lagrangian Vortex Method is efficient and highly self-
freestream for higher Reynolds number of 2:5  105 . The experi- adaptive, since discrete vortices are convected with the same
ments showed some differences to all the previous studies. First, speed induced on fluid. As consequence, the governing equations
practically no boundary layer was developed on the ground. are solved only where vorticity is present; thus the far away
Second, the decrease in drag due to the decrease in h=d did not boundary condition is automatically satisfied. These facts make the
occur in the measurements. The differences encountered were Lagrangian Vortex Method well suited for the analysis of complex,
attributed to the non-existence of the wall boundary layer or the unsteady and vortical flows; some of the works using Discrete
flow regime at higher Reynolds number. Vortex Method are Chorin (1973), Leonard (1980), Sarpkaya (1989),
Experiments from Nishino (2007) showed drag and lift coeffi- Lewis (1991), Kamemoto (2004) and Kathir and Lucey (2012).
cients behavior acting on a cylinder surface placed near a moving
ground at high Reynolds number flows of Re ¼ 4:0  104 and
Re ¼ 1:0  105 , respectively. The ground moved at the same speed
2. Problem statement
as the air flow and it was observed that practically no boundary
layer was developed on the ground surface; besides, three distinct
Consider the two-dimensional, incompressible and unsteady
ranges were found for the gap ratio: (a) if h=d 4 0:50, larger vortex
viscous flow around a circular cylinder placed near a ground plane
structures are generated at the rear part of the cylinder; (b) if
whose movement is represented by the absence of vorticity
0:35 o h=d o 0:50 the vortex shedding is intermittent; (c) if
generation (Bimbato et al., 2011). Fig. 1 schematically represents
h=d o0:35 the vortex shedding is suppressed. Nishino (2007) also
this situation, U being the incident flow velocity, d the cylinder
studied the end effects on the aerodynamic loads behavior using
diameter, h the distance between the bottom of the cylinder and
end plates which is very important to compare two-dimensional
the ground plane and Ω represents the fluid domain defined by
and three-dimensional flow regimes.
the surface S ¼ S1 ∪S2 ∪S3 such that S1 is the body surface, S2 is the
It can be observed in the literature a lack of numerical works
ground surface and S3 is the far away boundary.
that deals with vortex shedding suppression. A few studies can be
This flow, depicted in Fig. 1, is governed by the continuity and
found and they practically are restricted to low Reynolds number
Navier-Stokes equations, which can be written in the form
flows using Eulerian methods in ranges of 80 ≤Re ≤1000 and
200 ≤Re ≤600 (e.g., Lei et al. (2000) and Huang and Sung (2007)). ∂ui
¼ 0; ð2Þ
Recently, Bimbato et al. (2011) presented numerical evaluations ∂xi
of the complex effects of the two-dimensional viscous flow around   
a cylinder in the vicinity of a moving ground. The numerical ∂ui ∂ 1 ∂p ∂ ∂ui ∂uj
þ ðui uj Þ ¼  þ ν þ ; ð3Þ
strategy involved the combination of Lagrangian Vortex Method ∂t ∂xj ρ ∂xi ∂xj ∂xj ∂xi
with source Panels Method to calculate global as well as local
where ui is the ith velocity component, ρ is the density, p is the
quantities in a high Reynolds number flow of Re ¼ 1:0  105 . The
pressure field and ν is the fluid kinematic viscosity.
main contribution of authors was to use a moving ground to
A LES modeling is used to separate the large eddies (to be
present physical issues related to the flow. The purpose of using a
numerically solved) from the small eddies (which require a
moving ground is to eliminate the influence of the boundary layer
turbulence model to be analyzed) by filtering the governing Eqs.
developed on the ground, which is a crucial factor in the analysis.
(2) and (3). Consequently, these equations become
The numerical results were in reasonable agreement with limited
amount of experimental data. However, physical explanations ∂ui
¼ 0; ð4Þ
concerning the destruction of the vortex street and drag force ∂xi
reduction, especially for small gap ratios were not present. These
phenomena are very difficult to capture using experimental
The present paper, therefore, contributes by using a Lagrangian
Vortex Method in order to produce physical explanations concerning
to the suppression of vortex shedding in moving ground effect for
very small gap ratios. The numerical simulations consider two-
dimensional high Reynolds number flows and include turbulence
modeling. With the present methodology it is still possible to identify
important aspects of ground effect and the results are useful for the
accumulation of knowledge about moving ground mechanisms and
vortex shedding control. Fig. 1. Definition of fluid domain.
18 A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28

∂ui ∂ 1 ∂p ∂ h i
The essence of the Lagrangian Vortex Method is to discretize the vorti-
þ ðui uj Þ ¼  þ2 ðν þ νt ÞSij : ð5Þ
∂t ∂xj ρ ∂xi ∂xj city field using Lamb discrete vortices in a manner that (Kundu, 1990)
NV Γ jxj2
Here ui is the velocity filtered field (ui ¼ ui þu′i ; u′i is the velocity ωðx; t Þ ¼ ∑ k
exp  2 ; ð12Þ
k ¼ 1 πs0k s0k
fluctuation), p is the pressure filtered field, νt is the eddy viscosity
and Sij is the deformation tensor of the filtered field (Smagorinsky,
where ω (ω ¼ ∇  u) is the vorticity filtered field, NV is the total
number of discrete vortices in the fluid domain, Γ k is the strength of
Considering that the small scales are homogeneous and iso-
the discrete vortex k necessary to satisfy Eq. (9) and s0 is the nominal
tropic and using a relation proposed by Batchelor (1953), Lesieur
Lamb vortex core given by (Alcântara Pereira et al., 2004):
and Métais (1996) proposed to use the local kinetic energy rffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
spectrum in order to calculate the eddy viscosity Δt
s0 ¼ 4:48364 ; ð13Þ
qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi Rec
νt ðx; Δþ ; tÞ ¼ 0:105C K Δþ F 2 ðx; Δþ ; tÞ; ð6Þ where Rec ¼ Ud=ðν þ νt Þ is the Reynolds number modified by the
  turbulence modeling. The time step Δt is calculated from an estimate
where C K ¼ 1:4 is the kolmogorov constant and F 2 x; Δþ ; t the of the convective length and velocity scales of the flow.
local second-order velocity structure function of the filtered field, The solution of Eq. (11) is obtained using the Lagrangian
defined as Discrete Vortex Method. This method uses an algorithm that splits
the convective-diffusive operator (Chorin, 1973) in the form
F 2 ðx; Δþ ; tÞ ¼ ‖uðx; tÞuðx þ r; tÞ‖2jrj ¼ Δþ : ð7Þ
∂ω Dω
þ ðu⋅∇Þω ¼ ¼ 0; ð14Þ
Here uðx; tÞuðxþr; tÞ is the average speed differences between ∂t Dt
the center of a sphere located at x with radius jrj ¼ Δþ and points
∂ω 1 2
located on the sphere surface. In this formulation the center of the ¼ ∇ ω: ð15Þ
∂t Rec
sphere is defined as a point of the flow field where one wants to
calculate the turbulent activity. The above equation is used in where Dω=Dt indicates the Lagrangian description.
three-dimensional flows; since the present work deals with a two- The vorticity generated on the body surface and represented by
dimensional flow the second-order velocity structure function discrete vortices is transported by convection and diffusion into
model needs to be adapted to two-dimensional problems (see the flow and agrees with Eq. (11). The transport of discrete vortices
Section 3). at each time step is carried out in a sequence.
Therefore, Eqs. (4) and (5) are used to simulate the large eddy A feature of the vorticity field is that, in the absence of viscosity
phenomena with the Lagrangian Vortex Method and the small (see Eq. (14)), the vortex cloud moves as a material region of the
eddy ones are taken into account by the eddy viscosity (Eq. 6), flow. Therefore, the solution of the vorticity convection equation,
which is modeled by the local second-order velocity structure Eq. (14), is determined by integration of each vortex path equation
function of the filtered field (Eq. 7). In order to non-dimensionalize using a first order euler scheme:
all the quantities in Eqs. (4) and (5) and the equations below, U dxk
and d are used. The non-dimensional time is given by tU=d. ¼ uk ðxk ; t Þ; k ¼ 1; NV ; ð16Þ
The impenetrability condition demands that the normal velo-
where uk ðxk ; tÞ is the velocity filtered field calculated in the
city component of the fluid particle, un , should be equal to the
position of kthdiscrete vortex and NV is the total number of
normal velocities components of the surfaces S1 and S2 , vn :
discrete vortices in each step of the numerical simulation.
un vn ¼ 0; on S1 and S2 : ð8Þ Before solving Eq. (16), the velocity field must be calculated in
the position of each discrete vortex present in the fluid domain,
The no-slip condition demands that the tangential velocity com- which is composed by three contributions: (i) the incident flow,
ponent of the fluid particle, uτ , should be equal to the tangential ui ðx; t Þ; (ii) the solid boundaries, ubðx; tÞ; (iii) the vortex–vortex
velocity component of the surface S1 , vτ , since there is no discrete interaction, uv ðx; t Þ. Thus, the velocity field in the position occu-
vortex generated on S2 ; thus pied by any kth discrete vortex is
uτ vτ ¼ 0; only on S1 ; ð9Þ uk ðxk ; t Þ ¼ uik ðxk ; t Þ þ ubk ðxk ; t Þ þ uvk ðxk ; t Þ; k ¼ 1; NV: ð17Þ

One assumes that, far away, the perturbation caused by the body The velocity induced by the incident flow is given by
and the ground plane fades as ui1 ¼ 1; and ui2 ¼ 0: ð18Þ

The present work deals with the Panels Method (Katz and Plotkin,
u -U; on S3 ; ð10Þ
1991) to represent the solid boundaries. For this purpose, the
cylinder and ground plane surfaces are discretized by source flat
panels with constant density. Thus, the velocity induced by the
solid boundaries in the position of kthdiscrete vortex is given by
3. Numerical solution: non-dimensional problem i
ubk ðxk ; t Þ ¼ ∑ sp cikp ½xk ðt Þxp ; i ¼ 1; 2 and k ¼ 1; NV; ð19Þ
The dynamics of the fluid flow, governed by the boundary-value
problem – Eqs. (4), (5), (8)–(10) – can be studied in a more convenient where, NP is the total number of source flat panels, sp ¼ constant is
way when the curl of the Navier–Stokes equations is taken to the source density per unit length and cikp ½xk ðt Þxp  is the ith
obtain the vorticity equation. For a two-dimensional (Cottet and component of the velocity induced at kth discrete vortex by
Koumoutsakos, 2000) flow this equation is scalar (the rate of pth panel.
deforming vortex tubes is zero), and it can be written as The vortex cloud contribution is given by

∂ω 1 2

þ ðu⋅∇Þω ¼ ∇ ω: ð11Þ uvik ðxk ; t Þ ¼ ∑ Γ j cikj xk ðt Þxj ðt Þ ; i ¼ 1; 2 and k ¼ 1; NV ; ð20Þ
∂t Rec j¼1
A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 19

where Γ j is the intensity of the jth vortex and cikj ½xk ðt Þxj ðt Þ is (Shintani and Akamatsu, 1994):
the ith component of the induced velocity in a kth discrete 1
HY p  Y∇Ξ p ⋅en dS ¼ ∬Ω ∇Ξ p ⋅ðu  ωÞdΩ ð∇Ξ p  ωÞ⋅en dS
vortex by jth discrete vortex. S1 þS2 Re S1
Viscosity causes only a gradual spreading of the vortex cloud to
neighboring regions of the flow field. A variety of approaches have ð26Þ
been introduced either convection of the discrete vortices by an where the pressure is computed at pth point, H ¼ 1:0 in the fluid
additional velocity-like quantity related to diffusion or adaptative domain, H ¼ 0:5 on the boundaries, Ξ is a fundamental solution of
methods for generation of new discrete vortices. In this work, the Laplace equation and en is the unit vector normal to the solid
viscous diffusion, Eq. (15), is simulated using a stochastic “random surfaces.
walk” introduced by Chorin (1973). An integral form solution to The drag and lift coefficients are expressed by
the random walk problem is given by
Z 1 C D ¼ ∑ 2ðpp p1 ÞΔSp sin βp ¼ ∑ C Pp ΔSp sin βp ð27Þ
ωðx;t Þ ¼ ðGðx;y;t ÞGðxy;t ÞÞf ðyÞdy; ð21Þ p¼1 p¼1
where C L ¼  ∑ 2ðpp p1 ÞΔSp cos βp ¼  ∑ C Pp ΔSp cos βp ð28Þ
p¼1 p¼1

1 2 4 t
Gðx;y;tÞ ¼ pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi exp ðxyÞ =Rec ð22Þ where p1 is the reference pressure (at boundary defined as S3 ),
4 π t=Rec
ΔSp is the length and βp is the angle and both on pth panel.
This simplest method requires simultaneous radial and circum-
ferential displacements for any kth discrete vortex at each time
step Δt as 4. Results and discussions
4 Δt 1 4.1. Isolated circular cylinder
ς k ðt Þ ¼ ln ½ cos ð2 π Q Þ þ sin ð2 π Q Þ; ð23Þ
Rec P
The vortex code was validated simulating the flow around an
where P and Q are random numbers, with 0 oP o 1 and 0 oQ o 1. isolated circular cylinder. This was done in order to determine the
It is clear from Eq. (23) that turbulence effects are considered in parameters associated with the numerical method, like the num-
the diffusion process, what means that in this stage there is a ber of flat panels used to represent the cylinder (NP ¼ 300), the
connection between the large scales and the smallest ones, which time increment (Δt ¼ 0:05), according to Mustto et al. (1998) and
is made by the eddy viscosity. As described in Section 2 the local the Lamb vortex core (s0 ¼ 0:001). The Reynolds number chosen
turbulent activity is determined by the second-order velocity was Re ¼ 1:0  105 in order to compare the numerical results with
structure function (Eq. 7), which must be adapted to the two- the experimental data available in the literature.
dimensional problem. Table 1 shows experimental results from Blevins (1984) and the
Alcântara Pereira et al. (2004) make two adaptations necessary results obtained using the present algorithm. In order to be free
to implement the second-order velocity structure function to the from the numerical transient the mean values are calculated as
two-dimensional Lagrangian Vortex Method, see Eq. (7): (i) the 50:00 ≤t ≤100:00 and as can be seen agree quite well with the
points where velocities must be calculated are placed inside a experimental results by Blevins (1984), since, as observed by the
circular crown centered at a kth reference vortex, defined by author, they present a 10% of uncertainty.
r i ¼ 0:1s0k and r e ¼ 2:0s0k where r i and r e are the internal and Fig. 2 presents the time evolution of the aerodynamic forces; as
external radius of the circular crown, respectively, and s0k is the expected the lift force oscillates around zero. The Strouhal number
Lamb vortex core of the vortex under analysis (kth vortex, for is about 0.21. The drag force oscillates at a frequency that is
instance); (ii) to compute the second-order velocity structure approximately twice the lift force frequency, which is a typical
function, the points where velocities are calculated are the same behavior of an isolated cylinder; thus the drag force oscillates
as the positions of the vortices which are near the vortex under every time that a vortex structure is shed from the upper or lower
analysis (inside the circular crown). Thus side of the cylinder while the lift force oscillates once for each pair
 2=3 of vortex structure shed. Since the three-dimensional effects
1 N s0k present in the experiments are very important for the Reynolds
F 2k ¼ ∑ ‖ut k ðxk Þut j ðxk þ r j Þ‖2j ð24Þ
Nj¼1 rj number used in the simulation, a purely two-dimensional com-
putation must produce values for the drag coefficient and the
where ut is the total velocity in the point (see Eq. 17), N indicates Strouhal number only in a physical sense with experiments, as has
the number of discrete vortices inside the circular crown and r j is been identified in this work. In this way, the present simulation
the distance between the discrete vortex under analysis (kth provided a very good estimate of the aerodynamic loads and wake
discrete vortex) and the discrete vortices inside the circular crown pattern.
(each jth discrete vortex). Fig. 2 shows five important instants (points A, B, C, D and E) to
Finally, with the vorticity and velocity fields it is possible to explain the physics involved in this kind of flow. At the instant
compute the pressure field. The procedure starts with Bernoulli represented by point A, there is a low pressure distribution at the
function, defined by Uhlman (1992) as

p u2

Y¼ þ ; u ¼ u ð25Þ
ρ 2 Table 1
Mean values of drag and lift coefficients and Strouhal number for isolated cylinder.
Kamemoto (1993) used the same function and starting from
Navier–Stokes equations was able to write a Poisson equation for Re ¼ 1:0  105 CD CL St

the pressure. This equation was solved using a finite difference

Blevins (1984) 710% 1.200 – 0.190
scheme. Here the same Poisson equation was derived and its Present simulation 1.182 0.036 0.214
solution was obtained through the following integral formulation
20 A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28

upper cylinder surface, which explains the maximum lift force. vortex structure starts to grow attracting the opposite shear layer
This instant corresponds to a clockwise vortex structure shed on which is feeding the clockwise vortex structure causing its
the upper side of the cylinder (see Fig. 3 (point A) and Fig. 4(a)); detachment (Fig. 6(a)). Likewise, a new clockwise vortex structure
this clockwise vortex structure begins to grow attracting the is born in the upper cylinder surface and begins to grow attracting
opposite shear layer. the lower shear layer which is feeding the counter-clockwise
At the instant represented by point C, there is a low pressure vortex structure causing its detachment (Fig. 8(a)).
distribution at the lower cylinder surface, which explains the Points B and D highlighted in Fig. 2 correspond to the complete
minimum lift force (Fig. 2). This instant corresponds to a incorporation of the counter-clockwise and clockwise vortex
counter-clockwise vortex structure shed on the lower side of the structures to the wake respectively (see Figs. 5(a) and 7(a)).
cylinder (see Fig. 3 (point C) and Fig. 6(a)). This counter-clockwise It can be seen that the mechanism of vortex shedding described
above is in agreement to the one proposed by Gerrard (1966); it is
repeated periodically causing the oscillating von Kármán street as
shown in Fig. 9. Since the flow around an isolated cylinder is well
predicted, the computational code is considered able to simulate
the situation where the cylinder suffers the influence of a moving
ground plane.

4.2. Circular cylinder in ground effect

The characteristics of the flow around a cylinder placed near a

plane boundary are governed mainly by the Reynolds number and
the gap ratio, i.e., the ratio between the distance from the body to
the plane boundary, h, and the body characteristic length, the
cylinder diameter d. The details of the ground effect on the flow
are still far from being fully understood.
One of the mechanisms that govern the ground effect is the
wake interference due to the interaction between the body wake
and ground surface boundary layer; one can say that this is an
important manifestation of the viscous effects. Experimentally,
one way to suppress or at least to minimize this mechanism
consists in using a moving ground.
In this section, the attention is focused on the analysis of the
vortex shedding suppression due to the presence of a flat ground
nearby; again one can say that this is an important manifestation
Fig. 2. Temporal series for the aerodynamic forces acting on isolated cylinder. of the inertial effects.

Fig. 3. Instantaneous pressure distributions for the isolated cylinder.

A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 21

Fig. 5. Near field velocity distribution for the cylinder at an instant represented by
point B. (a) Isolated, (b) h/d¼ 0.35, (c) h/d ¼ 0.15 and (d) h/d ¼0.05.
Fig. 4. Near field velocity distribution for the cylinder at an instant represented by
point A. (a) Isolated, (b) h/d¼ 0.35, (c) h/d ¼0.15 and (d) h/d ¼0.05.

Some preliminary results are done, before starting with the If h=d 4 0:40, these results show that the drag coefficient
main analysis. For the numerical simulations it was used 300 increases as the flow becomes more and more two-dimensional.
panels for the cylinder surface (as presented in Section 4.1) and In fact, let us define ye as the distance from the border of the end
950 panels to represent the moving ground. The drag and lift plate to the cylinder and the ratio ye =d. The experimental results
coefficients discussed in this section represent the mean value of show that, for a given value of h=d, the higher the value of the ratio
temporal series of drag and lift forces. As already mentioned, no ye =d the higher are the values of the drag coefficient (compare the
vorticity was generated on the ground surface. values of the drag force for ye =d ¼ 0:0, ye =d ¼ 0:2 and ye =d ¼ 0:4).
Table 2 and Fig. 10 show some results obtained by Nishino This behavior is due to the fact that three-dimensional flows
(2007) and are used for the analysis of the drag force, especially present a momentum transfer in the cylinder axial direction
when end plates were used in experimental investigations. leading to a lower value of the drag. Differences of about 45% in
22 A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28

Fig. 7. Near field velocity distribution for the cylinder at an instant represented by
Fig. 6. Near field velocity distribution for the cylinder at an instant represented by point D. (a) Isolated, (b) h/d ¼0.35, (c) h/d¼ 0.15 and (d) h/d ¼ 0.05.
point C. (a) Isolated, (b) h/d ¼0.35, (c) h/d¼ 0.15 and (d) h/d ¼ 0.05.

the drag forces of a two-dimensional (with end plates) and three- The results of Fig. 11 are used for the analysis of the lift force.
dimensional (without end plates) configurations can be observed. One observes that the numerical obtained results follow the
The importance of the three-dimensional effects can be inferred so experimental ones, although with a small delay; the trend
it can be classified as the second mechanism that governs the observed is an increasing lift force as the ratio h=d decreases.
ground effect phenomenon. According to the potential flow solution one should expect a
As the cylinder comes closer to the ground the end plates lose negative lift due to the Venturi effect (an inertial effect). Here,
their ability to suppress the axial component of the flow velocity; however, the viscous effect dominates moving the stagnation
as a consequence, the flow is basically three-dimensional and the point downstream thus creating an additional positive circulation
computed drag force (even with the end plates) tends to the value which leads to the above mentioned results.
of the three-dimensional configuration. The last column of Table 2 shows the behavior of the Strouhal
The present numerical results agree with the findings of Nishino number as the cylinder comes close to the ground; it can be
(for the approximately two-dimensional flow) and are higher than observed that the Strouhal number decreases (a consequence
the ones obtained in the three-dimensional experiments. of the decreasing vortex shedding) as the h=d ratio decreases
A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 23

(the cylinder approaches the ground). Three values of the gap Fig. 12 is used to show the time evolution of the aerodynamic
ratio: h=d ¼ 0:35 (St ¼ 0:199), h=d ¼ 0:15 (St ¼ 0:143) and h=d ¼ 0:05 forces for these three values of the gap ratio and, as before, five
(St ¼ 0:080) are used here. important points (time instant) are highlighted.
For h=d ¼ 0:35 the same sequence of events described for the
isolated cylinder occurs (see the description done in Section 4.1
and follow Fig. 13 and Figs. 4(b)–8(b)). However, now, one can
observe a peculiar behavior in the drag curve (Fig. 12(a)): the
highest values are not constant, which is due to the blockage effect
imposed by the ground surface. In fact, while the upper vortex
structures have total freedom to develop in the near field until
being incorporated by the far field wake (sequence of Figs. 4(b)–7
(b)), leading to a bigger peaks in the drag force, the growth of the
lower vortex structures are limited by the ground surface
(sequence of Figs. 6(b), 7(b), 8(b) and 5(b)), which reflects in
smaller peaks in the drag force. It is worth observing that a lower
rear pressure observed when the cylinder is close to the ground
surface, leads to a higher value of the mean drag as compared to
the isolated cylinder (compare Fig. 3 with Fig. 13).
The sequence presented in Fig. 12 shows a gradual disappear-
ance of bigger and smaller peaks of the drag curve followed by a
decrease of the drag force (see again Table 2). In Fig. 12(b),
h=d ¼ 0:15, five points are highlighted to explain the causes of
the disappearance of the interspersed peaks (sometimes bigger,
sometimes smaller).
At point A (instant A) the low pressure distribution at the upper
cylinder surface leads to the maximum value of the lift force. This
instant corresponds to the birth of the clockwise vortex structure,
instant A in Fig. 14 (see also Fig. 4(c)), which start attracting the
opposite shear layer.
At point C (instant C) the low pressure distribution, now, at
the lower cylinder surface is responsible for the minimum value of
the lift force. At this instant one can observe the starting of the
counter-clockwise vortex structure, instant C in Fig. 14 (see also
Fig. 6(c)). The growing counter-clockwise vortex structure now
attracts the opposite shear layer which feeds the clockwise vortex
structure promoting the flow detachment (Fig. 6(c)).
Observe, however, that the enhancement of the Venturi effect,
due to the closer presence of the ground, draws downstream the
counter-clockwise structure (compare Fig. 6(b) and (c)). As a
consequence, the detachment and the embedding of the clockwise
vortex structure by the viscous wake is delayed (compare
Figs. 6 and 7(b) with Figs. 6 and 7(c)) allowing the development
of a larger counter-clockwise vortex structure which, by its turn,
deforms the next clockwise vortex structure that starts to develop
at instant E (compare Fig. 8(b) with Fig. 8(c)).
The energy content of this newly deformed clockwise vortex
structure is not enough to attract the opposite shear layer; in fact
one can observe that the upper vortex structure is being fed by the
larger counter-clockwise one to the point that this lower counter-
clockwise detaches and is embedded by the viscous wake, Fig. 5(c).
The above described events explain the decreasing value of the
Strouhal number as well as the reduction of about 7% in the drag
force, Table 2.
Fig. 8. Near field velocity distribution for the cylinder at an instant represented by The time evolution of the aerodynamic forces, when h=d ¼ 0:05,
point E. (a) Isolated, (b) h/d ¼ 0.35, (c) h/d¼ 0.15 and (d) h/d¼ 0.05. are presented in Fig. 12(c); now, the periodic vortex shedding

Fig. 9. Isolated cylinder: Von Kármán street at dimensionless position of x ¼ 25.

24 A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28

Table 2
Comparison between experimental and numerical data for cylinder near a moving ground.

h=d Nishino (2007) – three-dimensional Nishino (2007) (ye =d ¼ 0:0) Nishino (2007) (ye =d ¼ 0:2) Nishino (2007) (ye =d ¼ 0:4) Present simulation


2.00 0.845  0.027 1.148  0.043 – – 1.304  0.023 – – –

1.50 0.854  0.020 1.152  0.040 – – 1.337  0.013 – – –
1.00 0.881  0.008 1.260  0.025 1.363 0.013 1.375 0.011 – – –
0.80 0.899 0.014 1.293  0.020 1.386 0.015 1.385 0.024 – – –
0.60 0.920 0.039 1.302 0.001 1.372 0.028 1.373 0.038 – – –
0.50 0.924 0.045 1.282 0.034 1.298 0.064 1.323 0.090 – – –
0.45 0.926 0.060 1.242 0.054 1.245 0.090 1.311 0.102 – – –
0.40 0.922 0.074 1.145 0.084 1.187 0.116 – – 1.449 0.133 0.200
0.35 0.931 0.092 0.929 0.078 1.031 0.132 – – 1.427 0.063 0.199
0.30 0.930 0.117 0.941 0.111 0.954 0.164 – – 1.470 0.005 0.199
0.25 0.933 0.144 0.951 0.154 0.956 0.198 – – 1.466 0.002 0.197
0.20 0.939 0.177 0.954 0.188 – – – – 1.391  0.010 0.169
0.15 0.952 0.231 0.957 0.247 – – – – 1.326 0.035 0.143
0.10 0.958 0.308 0.953 0.306 – – – – 1.108 0.250 0.119
0.05 0.965 0.429 0.941 0.477 – – – – 0.846 0.419 0.080

Fig. 11. Comparison between numerical and experimental results for lift force
Fig. 10. Comparison between numerical and experimental results for drag force
considering the span of the cylinder.
considering the span of the cylinder.

clockwise structure and the ground, Fig. 6(d), until its detachment,
almost disappears, Table 2. The cylinder is too close to the ground Fig. 7(d).
and introduces radical changes in the flow field. Fig. 15 shows the As soon as the clockwise vortex structure detachment starts the
new stagnation point which moves downstream due to an addi- counter-clockwise structure begins to go through the space
tional circulation (compare Fig. 3, Fig. 13, Figs. 14 and 15); as a formed between the ground and the upper vortex structure (see
consequence the lift force takes a higher value, C L ¼ 0:419. Figs. 7 and 8(d)).
As described before, for h=d ¼ 0:05, the enhanced Venturi effect As it can be seen, the vortex shedding still exists but it is
draws downstream the counter-clockwise vortex structure, delay- weaker and delayed. In fact due to Venturi effect the interaction
ing the vortex shedding now even more. With a stronger Venturi between the upper and lower structures which is a necessary
effect the delay is bigger as can be observed by comparing the condition for the vortex structures detachment is weakened
Strouhal number, Table 2. causing a decrease in drag force as h=d decreases (Table 2).
For the gap ratio h=d ¼ 0:05 it is difficult to identify the exact Fig. 16 shows the vortex shedding suppression effect development
moment when the vortex structures begin; compare Fig. 4(d) with as the gap ratio decreases.
Fig. 4(b) and Fig. 4(c). The above described mechanisms are
present but enhanced by a closer presence of the ground. The
counter-clockwise vortex structure takes a longer time to start 5. Conclusions
(compare the time it takes from instant A to instant C in Fig. 12(a),
(b) and (c)); the clockwise vortex structure grows bigger, Fig. 5(d), A two-dimensional Lagrangian Vortex Method with LES mod-
and the counter-clockwise structure is confined between the eling was used successfully to predict the vortex shedding
A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 25

Fig. 12. Temporal series for the aerodynamic forces acting on cylinder in moving ground effect. (a) h/d¼ 0.35, (b) h/d¼ 0.15 and (c) h/d¼ 0.05.

suppression effect which happens, among other situations, when a There were very few experimental studies concerning to vortex
cylinder is placed near a moving ground. shedding suppression due to ground effect mechanisms; therefore,
The ground effect phenomenon is influenced by three the present paper contributes using a two-dimensional purely
mechanisms: Lagrangian approach with a moving ground configuration, where
three effects can be noted caused when a circular cylinder is
(i) the wake interference effect, i.e., the interaction between the getting closer to the ground:
wake formed behind the body and the boundary layer devel-
oped on the ground. The analysis of this mechanism is (i) the increase in lift force due to the viscosity effects which
avoided by the use of a moving ground, which is more causes an additional circulation around the body and a change
relevant to practical engineering problems; in the stagnation point;
(ii) the three-dimensional effects, which is avoided, since it is (ii) the vortex shedding suppression caused by Venturi effect;
used a two-dimensional Lagrangian Vortex Method formula- (iii) the decrease in the drag force due to the vortex shedding
tion. However, the experimental tests performed in a wind suppression.
tunnel by Nishino (2007) show the importance of a two-
dimensional analysis;
(iii) the blockage effect due to the ground surface, which was The Venturi effect is a key factor to no vorticity generation from
successfully studied. the ground plane region below the bottom of the cylinder, even for
26 A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28

Fig. 13. Instantaneous pressure distribution of the cylinder in moving ground effect (h=d ¼ 0:35).

Fig. 14. Instantaneous pressure distribution of the cylinder in moving ground effect (h=d ¼ 0:15).

the smallest gap ratios. This ground plane region is the most Nishino (2007) identified the vortex shedding suppression when
important to understand all aerodynamic loads effects acting on h=d o 0:35 while in the present work it occurs when h=d o 0:15.
the body surface. However, there is vorticity generation from the However this feature can be assigned to the end plates which lose
others ground plane regions. The mechanism of wake interference their ability to make the flow two-dimensional as the body comes
effect will be included in future analysis for this purpose. close to the ground.
It can be seen that the numerical code results agree well Finally in the near future a roughness modeling will be
with the approximately two-dimensional results obtained in a incorporated to the Vortex Method to predict the vortex shedding
wind tunnel by Nishino (2007). In fact there is a little delay suppression when a rough cylinder is placed near a moving
between the numerical and the experimental flow behavior, since ground.
A. Mendonça Bimbato et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 121 (2013) 16–28 27

Fig. 15. Instantaneous pressure distribution of the cylinder in moving ground effect (h=d ¼ 0:05).

Fig. 16. Moving ground effect: position of discrete vortices at dimensionless position of x ¼ 25. (a) h/d¼ 0.35, (b) h/d¼ 0.15 and (c) h/d¼ 0.05.

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