This article reviews linear instability analysis of flows over or through complex two-dimensional (2D) and 3D geometries. In the three decades since it first appeared in the literature, global instability analysis, based on the solution of the multidimensional eigenvalue and/or initial value problem, is continuously broadening both in scope and in depth. To date it has dealt successfully with a wide range of applications arising in aerospace engineering, physiological flows, food processing, and nuclear-reactor safety. In recent years, nonmodal analysis has complemented the more traditional modal approach and increased knowledge of flow instability physics. Recent highlights delivered by the application of either modal or nonmodal global analysis are briefly discussed. A conscious effort is made to demystify both the tools currently utilized and the jargon employed to describe them, demonstrating the simplicity of the analysis. Hopefully this will provide new impulses for the creation of next-generation algorithms capable of coping with the main open research areas in which step-change progress can be expected by the application of the theory: instability analysis of fully inhomogeneous, 3D flows and control thereof.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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