Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) was used to study the flow structure and turbulence, upstream, over, and downstream a shallow open cavity. Three sets of PIV measurements, corresponding to a turbulent incoming boundary layer and a cavity length-to-depth ratio of four, are reported. The cavity depth based Reynolds numbers were 21,000; 42,000; and 54,000. The selected flow configuration and well characterized inflow conditions allow for straightforward assessment of turbulence models and numerical schemes. All mean flow field measurements display a large flow recirculation region, spanning most of the cavity and a smaller, counter-rotating, secondary vortex, immediately downstream of the cavity leading edge. The Galilean decomposed instantaneous velocity vector fields, clearly demonstrate two distinct modes of interaction between the free shear and the cavity trailing edge. The first corresponds to a cascade of vortical structures emanating from the tip of the leading edge of the cavity that grow in size as they travel downstream and directly interact with the trailing edge, i.e., impinging vortices. The second represents vortices that travel above the trailing edge of the cavity, i.e., non-impinging vortices. In the case of impinging vortices, a strong, large scale region of recirculation forms inside the cavity and carries the flow disturbances, arising from the impingement of vortices on the trailing edge of the cavity, upstream in a manner that interacts with and influences the flow as it separates from the cavity leading edge.

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