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Abstract

The transition from two-dimensional (2D) steady to three-dimensional (3D) flow is investigated experimentally in a two-sided lid-driven cavity for anti-parallel motion of two facing walls. Both wall speeds (Reynolds numbers) have the same absolute value. We present critical Reynolds numbers at the onset of steady three-dimensional flow as a function of the cross-sectional aspect ratio. The critical curve is composed of different neutral branches belonging to different instability modes. Comparison with numerical results enables insight into the corresponding mechanisms.