The incompressible turbulent flow over a backward-facing step in a rectangular duct was investigated experimentally. The side wall effects on the core flow were determined by varying the aspect ratio (defined as the step span-to-height ratio) from 1 to 28. The Reynolds number, based on the step height and the oncoming free-stream velocity, was 26,500. Detailed velocity measurements were made, including the turbulent stresses, in a region which extended past the flow reattachment zone. Wall static pressure was also measured on both the step and flat walls. In addition, surface visualizations were obtained on all four walls surrounding the separated flow to supplement near-wall velocity measurements. The results show that the aspect ratio has an influence on both the velocity and wall pressure even for relatively large aspect ratios. For example, in the redevelopment region downstream of reattachment, the recovery pressure decreases with smaller aspect ratios. The three-dimensional side wall effects tend to slow down the relaxation downstream of reattachment for smaller aspect ratios as evidenced by the evolution of the velocity field. For the two smallest aspect ratios investigated, higher centerplane streamwise and transverse velocities were obtained which indicate a three-dimensional mean flow structure along the full span of the duct.

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