Chaos in body-vortex interactions

Johan Rønby Pedersen, Hassan Aref

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The model of body–vortex interactions, where the fluid flow is planar, ideal and unbounded, and the vortex is a point vortex, is studied. The body may have a constant circulation around it. The governing equations for the general case of a freely moving body of arbitrary shape and mass density and an arbitrary number of point vortices are presented. The case of a body and a single vortex is then investigated numerically in detail. In this paper, the body is a homogeneous, elliptical cylinder. For large body–vortex separations, the system behaves much like a vortex pair regardless of body shape. The case of a circle is integrable. As the body is made slightly elliptic, a chaotic region grows from an unstable relative equilibrium of the circle-vortex case. The case of a cylindrical body of any shape moving in fluid otherwise at rest is also integrable. A second transition to chaos arises from the limit between rocking and tumbling motion of the body known in this case. In both instances, the chaos may be detected both in the body motion and in the vortex motion. The effect of increasing body mass at a fixed body shape is to damp the chaos.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2119
Pages (from-to)1871-1891
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • body-vortex interaction

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