Engineered surfaces and coatings can passively manipulate flow over a bluff-body without significant retrofitting and are of great technological interest for a broad range of applications in the engineering field. A microfiber coating with a hair-like structure is developed and studied as a passive drag reduction method for flow over a cylinder that features both attached and separated flow. The impact of the microfiber coating on drag is experimentally investigated at a Reynolds number of 6.1 × 104 based on the cylinder diameter. Microfiber coatings of various lengths between 1.1% and 8.0% of the cylinder diameter are fabricated using flocking technology and applied to various positions on the cylinder surface between the leading and trailing edges. It is shown that the microfiber length and location are both influential parameters in drag reduction. Two types of drag reduction can be seen depending on the location of the microfiber coating: (1) Drag is reduced significantly if the microfiber coating is applied before flow separates over the cylinder (2) Drag is reduced moderately if the microfiber coating is applied after the point of flow separation on the cylinder. The former case’s best performance is achieved with a microfiber length of less than 1.8% of the cylinder diameter. The latter case shows better performance with relatively long fibers, where the microfiber’s length is greater than 3.3% of the cylinder diameter.

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