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Transition to turbulent flow
Jabbour, Ghassan E. Optical Sciences Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
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The transition of laminar flow to turbulent flow has proven to be one of the most difficult problems in fluid dynamics. The importance of the topic stems from the fact that the transition has a major impact on all vehicles and devices that come in contact with fluid flow. For transportation systems, transition to turbulent flow results in increased drag and, in turn, increased fuel consumption and increased global warming. For aircraft, a reduction in 1% of the drag results in an increase of about 5–10% in the payload that can be transported. On the other hand, the transition is critical for the efficient performance of internal combustion engines because it enhances the mixing of fuel and oxidizer. Thus, there is a major economic incentive for understanding the mechanisms of transition from laminar to turbulent flows.
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