Control of the flow around a finite square cylinder with a flexible plate attached at the free end

Hanfeng Wang, Chongyu Zhao, Lingwei Zeng, Md Mahbub Alam, Hui Tang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A flexible plate vertically clamped at the free-end leading edge was used to modulate the aerodynamic forces on a wall-mounted finite square cylinder. The side width (d) of the cylinder was 40 mm and the aspect ratio (H/d) was 5. The flexible plate was made of low-density polyethylene, with a width of d and thickness of 0.04 mm. The length of the flexible plate ranged from d/8 to d. All measurements were carried out in a low-speed wind tunnel with the free-stream velocity (U∞) ranging from 4 to 20 m/s, corresponding to a Reynolds number ranging from 10 960 to 54 800. It was found that the flexible plate behaves distinctly depending on its length and has significant effects on the aerodynamic forces on the finite square cylinder. When U∞ is smaller than the critical velocity Ucr, which is closely related to the length of the plate, the plate statically deforms, having a negligible influence on the aerodynamic forces on the cylinder. When U∞ exceeds Ucr, the plate flaps periodically, resulting in a significant reduction in the aerodynamic forces. The maximum reduction in the mean drag, fluctuating drag, and fluctuating lateral force reaches approximately 5%, 25%, and 60%, respectively. The reduction in the aerodynamic forces is insensitive to both the plate length and flapping frequency. Flow visualization and particle image velocimetry results point out that the flapping plate induces large-scale vortices in the free-end shear flow, which suppress the formation of spanwise vortex shedding and make the upper part of the near wake symmetrical. The flapping configuration of the flexible plate and the corresponding pressure fluctuation on the free end were also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number027109
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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