An integral method for the calculation of the boundary layer development on a circular cylinder with external meridional ribs is presented. The calculation method, which takes into account the effect of the ribs on the laminar and turbulent boundary layers and on transition, gives results which are in qualitative agreement with experimental data. Analytical results obtained with this method shed some light on the influence of rib roughness on boundary-layer development and support earlier arguments and conclusions derived from experimental data on the effect of external ribs or stakes on the mean flow around rounded structures at large Reynolds numbers.

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