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Developing mathematical theories of the physical world: Open Access research on fluid dynamics from Strathclyde

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A model for the numerical simulation of rivulet evolution on a circular cylinder in an air flow

Robertson, A.C. and Taylor, I.J. and Wilson, S.K. and Duffy, B.R. and Sullivan, J.M. (2008) A model for the numerical simulation of rivulet evolution on a circular cylinder in an air flow. In: Flow-induced vibration. The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, pp. 693-698. ISBN 9788087012123

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The simultaneous occurrence of rain and wind can generate rivulets of water on the cables of cable-stayed bridges. Under certain conditions the interaction of these rivulets with the local aerodynamic field may result in Rain Wind Induced Vibration (RWIV). A method to model this phenomenon computationally is currently under development at the University of Strathclyde. The current paper presents a two-dimensional model for the evolution of a thin film of water on the outer surface of a circular cylinder subject to pressure, shear, surface-tension and gravitational forces. Numerical simulations of the resulting evolution equation using a bespoke pseudo-spectral solver capture the formation of 'rivulets'; the geometry, location and growth rate of which are all in good agreement with previous studies.