The aeroacoustic behavior of a cylindrical surface with a small cavity


The aeroacoustic effects of the flow around a cylinder with a small rectangular cavity in its surface are investigated in an acoustic wind tunnel. In different positions, the overflown cavity produces loud tonal whistling noise. In large part, the noise can be explained with the Rossiter model. At a certain position of the cavity, a different aeroacoustic phenomenon occurs, which is in focus of this investigation. Tonal frequencies appear in a narrow band region, which do not scale with different cavities. A sudden onset and a sudden stop of the acoustic radiation are accompanied with a transition of the circulating flow. A strong hysteresis is observable. The separating boundary layer plays a major role in the characterization of the flow in the vicinity of the cavity. Acoustical and various flow measurements at velocities up to 47 m/s as well as a CFD simulation are presented. Consistent results reveal Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities as the reason for the aeroacoustic phenomenon.

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  1. 1.

    Additional PIV measurements on a cylinder without a cavity show that the global flow patterns do not significantly change compared to the measurements on the cylinder with the cavity (positioned at this particular angle).

  2. 2.

    It is worth mentioning that in the area of hysteresis (between 36 and 43 m/s), it is also possible to let the cylinder enter the drag crisis condition by irradiating it with a sinusoidal tone. It is produced with a loudspeaker positioned in the far field under the cylinder and outside the flow. The possibility of disturbing a boundary layer acoustically has already been mentioned by Meyer and Neumann (1979). At a local SPL of approximately 95 dB at the cylinder (measured at the surface with no flow) and at frequencies between 4.6 and 7.5 kHz, the boundary layer is effectively disturbed, which makes the cylinder enter the drag crisis.


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The authors acknowledge the Audi AG for their financial support. Furthermore, Christopher Haut and Gerrit Kampers are thanked for their experimental assistance.

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Correspondence to Tim Homeyer.

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Homeyer, T., Kirrkamm, N., Peinke, J. et al. The aeroacoustic behavior of a cylindrical surface with a small cavity. Exp Fluids 55, 1714 (2014).

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