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The evolution of Mode C wake characteristics with the Reynolds number (Re) for Re up to 400 is investigated numerically. The Mode C wake instability is generated by placing a small wire in the near wake of a main circular cylinder. This setup ensures that the wake is unstable to Mode C only (without potential mode interactions), as demonstrated by Floquet stability analysis. Based on three-dimensional direct numerical simulations, three evolution regimes are identified for the fully developed Mode C flow. In the uniform periodic regime (Re = 166.4-210), the Mode C structure is uniformly distributed along the spanwise direction. The flow structure is 2T-periodic (T being the vortex shedding period) but retains a spatiotemporal symmetry every 1T. In the nonuniform periodic regime (Re = 220-230), the slightly nonuniform Mode C structure remains 2T-periodic at Re = 220 but undergoes a period quadrupling to 4T-periodic at Re = 230 before transitioning to chaos. In the chaotic regime (Re ≥ 240), the flow loses periodicity and becomes increasingly chaotic with increasing Re. The progressive wake transition to chaos is found to originate from the instability in the braid shear layer region through the uneven growth in strength and the consequent nonuniformity of the Mode C streamwise vortices. The wake transitions to chaos through the routes of Mode C and Mode B (for an isolated circular/square cylinder) are compared.
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