The effect of buoyancy on the wake instability of a heated circular cylinder in a contra flow arrangement is investigated experimentally in the present study. A novel optical diagnostic technique, Molecular Tagging Velocimetry and Thermometry (MTV&T), was used for qualitative flow visualization and quantitative simultaneous measurements of velocity and temperature fields in the wake of the heated cylinder. The experiment was conducted in a water channel with the temperature and Reynolds number of the approaching flow being held constant at T = 24°C and Re = ρUD/μ = 130. The temperature of the heated cylinder varied between 24°C (unheated cylinder) and 85°C, corresponding to a Richardson number (Ri) varying between zero (unheated) and unity. The heat transfer process around the heated cylinder changes from the forced convection regime to the mixed convection regime. With increasing Richardson number, significant modifications of the wake instability were revealed from both qualitative flow visualization images and quantitative simultaneous velocity and temperature fields. The effect of buoyancy on the wake instability of the heated cylinder was discussed in the terms of vortex shedding pattern, vortex shedding frequency, turbulent heat flux distribution, the wake closure length and averaged Nusselt number of the heated cylinder.

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