The effect of wall streamlining on flow development over a circular cylinder was investigated experimentally in an adaptive-wall wind tunnel. Experiments were carried out for a Reynolds number of 57,000 and three blockage ratios of 5%, 8%, and 17%. Three test section wall configurations were investigated, namely, geometrically straight walls (GSW), aerodynamically straight walls (ASW), and streamlined walls (SLW). The results show that solid blockage effects are clearly evident in cylinder surface pressure distributions for the GSW and ASW configurations, manifested by an increased peak suction and base suction. Upon streamlining the walls, pressure distributions for each blockage ratio investigated closely match distributions expected for low blockage ratios. Wake blockage limits wake growth in the GSW configuration at 7.75 and 15 diameters downstream of the cylinder for blockages of 17% and 8%, respectively. This adverse effect can be rectified by streamlining the walls, with the resulting wake width development matching that expected for low blockage ratios. Wake vortex shedding frequency and shear layer instability frequency increase in the GSW and ASW configurations with increasing blockage ratio. The observed invariance of the near wake width with wall configuration suggests that the frequency increase is caused by the increased velocity due to solid blockage effects. For all the blockage ratios investigated, this increase is rectified in the SLW configuration, with the resulting Strouhal numbers of about 0.19 matching that expected for low blockage ratios at the corresponding Reynolds number. Blockage effects on the shear layer instability frequency are also successfully mitigated by streamlining the walls.

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