Vortex Arms

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A fixed cylinder will shed alternating vortices in its wake, but one allowed to oscillate forward and backward in the flow instead sheds simultaneous vortices. The shape of the wake still depends on the flow’s velocity. At low flow speeds, the two vortices are the same size when they shed. At higher velocities, the two vortices still shed simultaneously, but one will be large while the other is small. The larger vortex moves faster and travels downstream, but the smaller, slower vortex drifts inward. In the next shedding cycle, the small and large vortices switch positions, creating alternating symmetric shedding. (Image and video credit: P. Boersma et al.)

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