Flow characteristics around a sphere located over a smooth flat plate were experimentally investigated using dye visualization and PIV technique. The sphere was embedded in a turbulent boundary layer with a thickness of 63 mm which was larger than the sphere diameter of D = 42.5 mm. Instantaneous and time-averaged flow patterns in the wake region of the sphere were examined from the point of flow physics for different sphere locations in the range of 0 <= G/D <= 1.5 where G was the space between the bottom point of the sphere and the flat plate surface. Reynolds numbers with a range of 2500 <= Re <= 10000 based on the free-stream velocity while the velocity distributions over the plate surface are the developed turbulent boundary layer condition attained by using a tripwire. Distributions of velocity fluctuations, patterns of sectional streamlines, vorticity contours, velocity fields, turbulent kinetic energy and corresponding Reynolds stress correlations are obtained using PIV data. It was found that a jet-like flow stimulated the flow entrainment between the core and wake regions as a function of the sphere locations. The gap ratio has a strong influence on the flow structure of the wake-boundary layer interaction and the variation of the reattachment location of the separated flow from the plate surface. The time-averaged flow patterns yield asymmetric structures downstream of the sphere due to the effect of the boundary layer flow distribution. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.