An experimental investigation was conducted to characterize a symmetric horseshoe vortex system in front of and around a single large-diameter right cylinder centered between the sidewalls of a wind tunnel. Surface flow visualization and surface static pressure measurements as well as extensive mean velocity and pressure measurements in and around the vortex system were acquired. The results lend new insight into the formation and development of the vortex system. Contrary to what has been assumed previously, a strong vortex was not identified in the streamwise plane of symmetry, but started a significant angular distance away from it. Rather than the multiple vortex systems reported by others, only a single primary vortex and saddle point were found. The scale of the separation process at the saddle point was much smaller than the scale of the approaching boundary layer thickness. Results of the present study not only shed light on such phenomena as the asymmetric endwall flow in axial turbomachinery but can also be used as a test case for three-dimensional computational fluid mechanics computer codes.

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