Experimental investigation of rotating cylinders in flow

  • Wei Chen
  • Chang-Kyu Rheem
Original article


Rotating cylinders with different diameters placed in uniform flow were investigated experimentally. The aspect ratios, \({\text{AS}}\) (ratio of the length and the diameter) of cylinders, with the same length \(L=0.59\;{\text{m}}\) were 1.85, 2.21, 2.73 and 5.78 with respective diameters of 0.319, 0.267, 0.216 and 0.102 m. The non-dimensional rotation rate, \(\alpha\), was the ratio of the rotating surface speed and the flow speed, which varied from 0 to 8 for the 0.319 m diameter cylinder. Hydrodynamics of the cylinders were analyzed based on two different conditions: cylinders in flow condition and rotating cylinders in flow condition. For the cylinders in flow, the influence of the aspect ratio and Reynolds number on the hydrodynamics coefficient and Strouhal number was discussed, the critical transition area was found at \(1.0 \times {10^5} \leqslant Re \leqslant 1.59 \times {10^5}\). For the cylinders rotating in flow, initial area, increasing area and equivalent area were defined to describe the variation of mean of hydrodynamics as the increase of rotation rates. The range of these areas was decided by the rotation rate and aspect ratio of the cylinders. Different from the mean hydrodynamics, for the Strouhal number (vortex shedding) and Root mean square of lift for the rotating cylinders, vortex shedding area, weak vortex shedding area and wake fluctuation area were defined to explain them and the range of these areas was only determined by rotation rate.


Rotating cylinder Aspect ratio Rotation rate Hydrodynamics 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Zengo Yoshida, an researcher at Chiba Experiment Station of the University of Tokyo, for his enthusiastic help in setting up the experiments and to Mr. Robert Kawaratani for his careful help in proofreading this paper.


  1. 1.
    Feng CC (1968) MSC. Thesis, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BCGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Prandtl L (1925) The magnus effect and wind powered ships. Naturwissenschaften 13:93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Prandtl L, Tietjens OG (1934) Applied hydro- and aeromechanics. McGraw-Hill, New YorkMATHGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Swanson WM (1961) The Magnus effect: A summary of investigation to data. J Basic Eng 83:46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chew YT (1987) Flow past a rotating cylinder. In: Proceedings of international conference on fluid mechanics, Beijing, China, 1987, Beijing University Press, pp 556–560Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Diaz F, Gavalda J, Kawall JG, Keller JF, Giralt F (1983) Vortex shedding from a spinning cylinder. Phys Fluids 26:3454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Coutanceau M, Menard C (1985) Influence of rotation on the near-wake development behind an impulsively started circular cylinder. J Fluid Mech 158:399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chen YM, Ou YR, Pearlstein AJ (1993) Development of the wake behind a circular cylinder impulsively started into rotary and rectilinear motion. J Fluid Mech 253:449CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chew YT, Cheng M, Luo SC (1995) A numerical study of flow past a rotating circular cylinder using a hybrid vortex scheme. J Fluid Mech 299:35CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Stojkovic D, Breuer M, Durst F (2002) Effect of high rotation rates on the laminar flow around a circular cylinder. Phys Fluids 14:3160MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mittal S, Kumar B (2003) Flow past a rotating cylinder. J Fluid Mech 476:303MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pralits JO, Brandt L, Giannetti F (2010) Instability and sensitivity of the flow around a rotating circular cylinder. J Fluid Mech 650:513MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tokumaru PT, Domotakis PE (1993) The lift of a cylinder executing rotary motions in uniform flow. J Fluid Mech 255:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bourguet R, Jacono DL (2014) Flow-induced vibrations of a rotating cylinder. J Fluid Mech 740:342CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Karabelas SJ, Koumroglou BC (2012) High Reynolds number turbulent flow past a rotating cylinder. Appl Math Model 36:379MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jaminet JF, Van Atta CW (1969) Experiments on vortex shedding from rotating circular cylinders. AIAA Paper No, pp 1969–5407Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kumar S, Cantu C (2011) Flow past a rotating cylinder at low and high rotation rates. J Fluids Eng 133:041201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kang S, Choi H (1999) Laminar flow past a rotating cylinder. Phys Fluids 11:3312CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Banafsheh SA, Yahya MS (2015) An experimental investigation of vortex-induced vibration of a rotating circular cylinder in the cross-flow direction. Phys Fluids 27:067101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mittal S (2004) Three-dimensional instabilities in flow past a rotating cylinder. J Appl Mech 71:89CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schewe G (1983) On the force fluctuations acting on a circular cylinder in cross-flow from subcritical up to transcritical Reynolds numbers. Phys Fluids 133:265Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mustto AA, Gustavo Bodstein CR (2001) Improved vortex method for the simulation of the flow around circular cylinders (C). AIAA Paper No, pp 2001–2643Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Blevins RD (1990) Flow induced vibrations, 2nd edn. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dong S, Karniadakis GE (2005) DNS of flow past a stationary and oscillating cylinder at Re = 10000. J Fluids Struct 20:519CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© JASNAOE 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ocean Technology, Policy and EnvironmentUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations