Incompressible flows at low Reynolds numbers over two identical side-by-side circular cylinders have been investigated numerically using unstructured finite volume method. The gap between the cylinders (g) and Reynolds number (Re) considered in the study lies respectively in the range of 0.2 ≤ g/D ≤ 4.0 (D being the diameter of the cylinder) and 20 ≤ Re ≤ 160. Low Reynolds number steady flows are given considerable importance. Two types of wakes are observed in the steady flow regime; the first type is characterized by attached vortices as in the case of an isolated cylinder and the other type is identified by detached standing vortices in the downstream. Reynolds number at which flow turns unsteady is quantified for each gap width. Five different types of wake patterns are observed in the unsteady flow regime: single bluff body wake, deflected wake, flip-flopping wake, in-phase synchronized, and anti-phase synchronized wakes. Present simulations of the evolution of single bluff-body wake demonstrate presence of vortices in the gap side too. The very long time simulations show that below a limiting Re depending on the gap, there is a transition of fully developed initial anti-phase flow to the in-phase flow at a later time. The limiting Reynolds number for this phase bifurcation phenomenon is evaluated in the (Re, g/D) space. A properly calibrated reduced order model based stability analysis is carried out to investigate the phase transition.
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