This paper investigates, experimentally for the first time, the effect of channel inlet blockage induced by bringing the channel inlet walls closer together on the wake structure of a rotationally oscillating cylinder. The cylinder is placed symmetrically inside the channel inlet. The Reynolds number (based on constant upstream channel inlet freestream velocity) is 185, and three channel wall spacings of two, four, and eight cylinder diameters are used. Cylinder oscillation amplitudes vary from π/8 to π, and normalized forcing frequencies vary from 0 to 5. The diagnostics is done using hydrogen-bubble flow visualization, hot-wire anemometry, and particle image velocimetry (PIV). It is found that rotational oscillations induce inverted-vortex-street formation at channel width of two cylinder diameter where there is no shedding in unforced case. The channel wall boundary layers at this spacing undergo vortex-induced instability due to vortex shedding from cylinders and influence the mechanism of inverted-vortex-street formation near the cylinder. At channel width of four cylinder diameter, the inverted-vortex-street is still present but the mode shape change seen at normalized forcing frequency of 1.0 in the absence of channel walls is delayed due to the presence of nearby walls. The wake structure is observed to resemble the wake structure in unbounded domain case at channel width of eight cylinder diameter with some effect of channel walls on forcing parameters where mode shape change occurs. The lock-on diagram is influenced by the closeness of the channel walls, with low-frequency boundary moving to lower frequencies at smallest channel width.

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