Flow past a circular cylinder is investigated in the subcritical regime, below the onset of Bénard-von Kármán vortex shedding at Reynolds number Rec≃47. The transient response of infinitesimal perturbations is computed. The domain requirements for obtaining converged results is discussed at length. It is shown that energy amplification occurs as low as Re=2.2. Throughout much of the subcritical regime the maximum energy amplification increases approximately exponentially in the square of Re reaching 6800 at Rec. The spatiotemporal structure of the optimal transient dynamics is shown to be transitory Bénard-von Kármán vortex streets. At Re≃42 the long-time structure switches from exponentially increasing downstream to exponentially decaying downstream. Three-dimensional computations show that two-dimensional structures dominate the energy growth except at short times.
Article last modified on September 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm.