LAMINAR AND TURBULENT FLOW EXAMPLES

Author: Ben Howard – Civil Engineering design Technician

Water fountains are an excellent example of the phenomenons of laminar and turbulent flow. They demonstrate technical aspects while also providing observers with a spectacular show as there is a distinct change in water flow. Laminar flow occurs when a liquid travels in a pipe and the flow creates a uniform flow which is crystal clear in appearance. As this flow increases in speed and becomes more turbulent it becomes mixed with air and has a change in appearance. For example, when water travels through a garden hose at a higher speed, the water appears to be white in appearance as it comes out of the end of the hose and becomes even more distinct when passed through a hose nozzle – Check out the photos below.

Laminar Flow with Aircraft 

Laminar flow is critical for aircraft too! Aircraft engineers want air to travel around the aircraft in a controlled way so that there is minimal drag or wind resistance. This is important as it allows aircraft to maintain better control and also increases fuel efficiency.


Turbulent Flow in Nature

Turbulent liquid is by far the most common state a liquid can be in. Consider the flow of a river for example, the water molecules are constantly crashing against each other as they move down the river. The water becomes more and more oxygenated and white in appearance as there is an increase in turbulence.

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The ocean is yet another great example of turbulent flow. As the waves crash The ocean is yet another great example of turbulent flow. As the waves crash down on the shore and become whitewash we witness another stunning example of turbulent flow. What was once a more uniform and laminar flow of water flowing in the expanse of the ocean, has now become a spectacular display of force which has everyone coming back to the beach to witness yet another display of beauty in nature.

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