On the onset of long-wavelength three-dimensional instability in the cylinder wake

Andrey I. Aleksyuk, Matthias Heil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the onset of the three-dimensional mode A instability in the near wake behind a circular cylinder. We show that long-wavelength perturbations organise in a time-shifting pattern such that the in-plane velocity in each streamwise slice corresponds to the base flow solution at shifted times. This observation introduces an additional unifying characteristic for certain mode A-type instabilities. We then analyse the mechanisms which control the growth or decay of these perturbations and highlight the crucial role played by the tilting mechanism which operates via non-local interactions in a manner similar to Biot-Savart induction. We characterise its domain of influence using a Green’s function-based approach which allows us to rationalise the non-trivial dependence of the growth rate on the spanwise wavenumber. We connect this behaviour to the subtle balance between the local growth of the perturbations as they are swept along by the flow and the feedback on the perturbations that are generated during the next period of the time-periodic base flow. Finally, we discuss generalisations of our findings to other types of flows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date18 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2023


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