On The Reduction Of Drag Of a Sphere By Natural Ventilation
Suryanarayana, G K
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The problem of bluff body flows and the drag associated with them has been the subject of numerous investigations in the literature. In the two-dimensional case, the flow past a circular cylinder has been most widely studied both experimentally and computationally. As a result, a well documented understanding of the gross features of the near-wake around a circular cylinder exists in the literature. In contrast, very little is understood on the general features of three-dimensional bluff body near-wakes, except that the vortex shedding is known to be less intense. Control or management of bluff body flows, both from the point of view of drag reduction as well as suppressing unsteady forces caused by vortex shedding, has been an area of considerable interest in engineering applications. The basic aim in the different control methods involves direct or indirect manipulation (or modification) of the near-wake structure leading to weakening or inhibition of vortex shedding. Many passive and energetic techniques (such as splitter plates, base and trailing edge modifications and base bleed) have been effective in the two-dimensional case in increasing the base pressure, leading to varying amounts of drag reduction; a large body of this work is centered around circular cylinders because of direct relevance in applications. The present work is an attempt to understand some of the major aspects of the near-wake structure of a sphere and to control the same for drag reduction employing a passive technique. Many of the passive control techniques found useful in two-dimensional flows are not appropriate in the context of a sphere. In this thesis, the effects of natural ventilation on the wake and drag of a sphere at low speeds have been studied experimentally in some detail. Natural bleed into the base is created when the stagnation and base regions of a sphere are connected through an internal duct. Although natural ventilation has features broadly similar to the well known base-bleed technique (both involve addition of mass, momentum and energy into the near-wake), there are many significant differences between the two methods; for example, in base bleed, the mass flow injected can be controlled independent of the outer flow, whereas in natural ventilation, it is determined by an interaction between the internal and the external flow around the body. Experiments have been conducted in both wind and water tunnels, which covered a wide range of Reynolds number (ReDj based on the diameter of the sphere) from of 1.7 x 103 to 8.5 x 105 with natural boundary layer transition. The ratio of the frontal vent area to the maximum cross sectional area of the sphere was varied from 1% to 2.25% and the effect of the internal duct geometry, including a convergent and a divergent duct was examined as well. After preliminary force measurements involving different duct geometries and vent areas, it was decided to make detailed measurements with a straight (parallel) duct with a vent area ratio of 2.25%. Extensive flow visualization studies involving dye-flow, hydrogen bubble, surface oil-flow and laser-light-sheet techniques were employed to gain insight into many aspects of the near-wake structure and the flow on the surface of the sphere. Measurements made included model static pressures, drag force using a strain gauge balance and velocity profiles in the near-wake and internal flow through the vent. In addition, wake vortex shedding frequency was measured using a hotwire. In the subcritical range of Reynolds numbers (ReD< 2 x 105), the near-wake of the sphere (without ventilation) was found to be vortex shedding, with laminar separation occurring around a value of0s = 80° (where 0s is the angle between the stagnation point and separation location). In contrast, there was little evidence of vortex shedding in the supercritical range (ReD> 4 x 105), consistent with many earlier observations in the literature; however, flow visualization studies in the near-wake clearly showed the existence of a three-dimensional vortex-like structure exhibiting random rotations about the streamwise axis. In this range of Reynolds numbers, surface flow visualization studies indicated the existence of a laminar separation bubble which was followed by a transitional/turbulent reattachment and an ultimate separation around 0S = 145°. All the above observations are broadly consistent with the results available in the literature. With ventilation at subcritical Reynolds numbers, the pressure distributions on the sphere including in the base region was only weakly altered, resulting in a marginal reduction in the total drag; because of the higher pressure difference between the stagnation and base regions, the mean velocity in the vent-flow was about 0.9 times the free-stream velocity. As may be expected, there was little change in the location of laminar separation on the sphere and the vortex shedding frequency was virtually unaltered due to ventilation. The relatively small effects on pressure distribution and drag suggest weak interaction between the vent-flow and the separated shear layer in the subcritical regime. The time-averaged near-wake flow revealed a stagnation point occurring between the vent-flow and the reverse flow in the near-wake, along with the formation of a torroidal vortex between the stagnation point and the near-wake closure; these features bear some resemblance to those observed with base bleed from a blunt base. With ventilation in the supercritical range of Reynolds numbers (ReD > 4 x 105), significant reduction in the total drag, of as much as 65%, was observed from force measurements. Pressure distributions showed higher pressures in the separated flow zone (consistent with reduced drag) as a result of which the internal mass and the mean velocity of the vent-flow were lower (0.69 times the free-stream velocity) compared to the value in the subcritical flow regime. Flow visualization studies clearly showed that the three-dimensional rotating structure (associated with the wake of the unvented sphere) was significantly modified by ventilation, leading to more symmetric and steady near-wake features. The larger effects on pressure distribution and drag suggest strong interaction between the vent-flow and the separated shear layer, promoted by their close proximity. The comparison of power spectral density of u1 signals in the near-wake showed significant reduction in the amplitude at all frequencies, consistent with observations from flow visualization studies. The time-averaged near-wake flow features a pair of counterrotating ring vortices which are trapped between the outer separated shear layer and the vent-flow shear layer; such a mean flow pattern is qualitatively similar to that behind an axisymmetric base with a central jet with unequal freestream velocities in the jet and outer flow. This study strongly suggests that natural ventilation can provide significant total drag reduction provided the vent-flow is in close proximity of the separated shear layer promoting a strong interaction between them. Drag reduction is associated with more symmetric and relatively steady near-wake features in contrast with the unvented sphere.