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Elephant modes and low frequency unsteadiness in a high Reynolds number, transonic afterbody wake

Abstract : Experiments and large eddy numerical simulation of a fully turbulent afterbody flow in the high subsonic regime, typical of that developing in the wake of a space launcher, exhibit a large-scale low frequency oscillation of the wake. In the present paper, we investigate to what extent the existence of the synchronized oscillations can be interpreted, at the high Reynolds numbers prevailing in this class of flows, by a local stability analysis of the mean flow, as measured in experiments or computed in numerical simulations. This analysis shows the presence of a pocket of absolute instability in the near wake, slightly detached from the body. The global frequency is strikingly well predicted by the absolute frequency at the upstream station of marginal absolute instability, this frequency selection being in agreement with the theory of nonlinear global modes. This result strongly suggests that a so-called elephant mode is responsible for the intense oscillations observed in the lee of space launcher configurations. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
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Philippe Meliga, D. Sipp, Jean-Marc Chomaz. Elephant modes and low frequency unsteadiness in a high Reynolds number, transonic afterbody wake. Physics of Fluids, American Institute of Physics, 2009, 21 (5), pp.054105. ⟨10.1063/1.3139309⟩. ⟨hal-01021153⟩



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