The characteristics of the flow around a bluff body of square cross-section in contact with a solid-wall boundary are investigated numerically using a finite difference procedure. Previous studies (Taneda, 1965; Kamemoto et al., 1984) have shown qualitatively the strong influence of solid-wall boundaries on the vortex-shedding process and the formation of the vortex street downstream. In the present study three cases are investigated which correspond to flow past a square rib in a freestream, flow past a rib on a fixed wall and flow past a rib on a sliding wall. Values of the Reynolds number studied ranged from 100 to 2000, where the Reynolds number is based on the rib height, H, and bulk stream velocity, Ub. Comparisons between the sliding-wall and fixed-wall cases show that the sliding wall has a significant destabilizing effect on the recirculation region behind the rib. Results show the onset of unsteadiness at a lower Reynolds number for the sliding-wall case (50 ≤ Recrit ≤100) than for the fixed-wall case (Recrit≥100). A careful examination of the vortex-shedding process reveals similarities between the sliding-wall case and both the freestream and fixed-wall cases. At moderate Reynolds numbers (Re≥250) the sliding-wall results show that the rib periodically sheds vortices of alternating circulation in much the same manner as the rib in a freestream; as in, for example, Davis and Moore [1982]. The vortices are distributed asymmetrically downstream of the rib and are not of equal strength as in the freestream case. However, the sliding-wall case shows no tendency to develop cycle-to-cycle variations at higher Reynolds numbers, as observed in the freestream and fixed-wall cases. Thus, while the moving wall causes the flow past the rib to become unsteady at a lower Reynolds number than in the fixed-wall case, it also acts to stabilize or “lock-in” the vortex-shedding frequency. This is attributed to the additional source of positive vorticity immediately downstream of the rib on the sliding wall.

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