A comprehensive experimental study has been performed in the U.S. Air Force Academy water tunnel to obtain a better understanding of the complicated flow patterns in shallow dimple configurations (h/D ≤ 0.1), including single cylindrical and spherical dimples, as well as single spanwise rows of dimples. The flow patterns, in-dimple separation zone extent, and bulk flow oscillation frequencies have been measured at low Reynolds number conditions. Three different single dimples and two single rows of dimples have been tested over a range of Reynolds numbers ReD of 3,170 to 23,590 including laminar and turbulent flow patterns downstream of a dimple. To visualize the fine flow features, five different colors of dye were injected through five cylindrical ports machined at locations upstream and inside the dimples. The measured results revealed unsteady and three-dimensional flow features inside and downstream of the dimple. The Reynolds number, dimple shape and the presence of adjacent dimples all play important roles in determining the nature of the flow pattern formation. Some preliminary conclusions regarding the laminar-turbulent flow transition after a dimple are presented.

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