Numerical computations of vortex formation length in flow past an elliptical cylinder

Matthew Karlson, Bogdan Nita, Ashwin Vaidya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We examine two dimensional properties of vortex shedding past elliptical cylinders through numerical simulations. Specifically, we investigate the vortex formation length in the Reynolds number regime 10 to 100 for elliptical bodies of aspect ratio in the range 0.4 to 1.4. Our computations reveal that in the steady flow regime, the change in the vortex length follows a linear profile with respect to the Reynolds number, while in the unsteady regime, the time averaged vortex length decreases in an exponential manner with increasing Reynolds number. The transition in profile is used to identify the critical Reynolds number which marks the bifurcation of the Karman vortex from steady symmetric to the unsteady, asymmetric configuration. Additionally, relationships between the vortex length and aspect ratio are also explored. The work presented here is an example of a module that can be used in a project based learning course on computational fluid dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Vortex formation length
  • Vortex shedding
  • Wake


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