JUL 16, 2020 11:26 AM PDT

Turbulence: A Treat for Both Eyes and Minds

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

What do the air inside your lung, the tap water in pipes, the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, and the hurricane over the Atlantic ocean have in common? They are all nature's display of turbulent flows.

The term turbulence describes a type of fluid motion that's full of unforeseeable changes in pressure and velocity. It is in direct contrast to another motion known as the laminar flow, in which fluid units follow parallel paths and move in smooth layers.

The pattern of turbulent flow is unpredictable and highly dependent on its initial conditions. It has a tendency to swirl or create eddies, exemplified by naturally occurring vortices behind rocks in rapids. These swirlings give the turbulence the mesmerizing look.

Compared to laminar flow, which only happens in small scale and under restricted conditions, turbulent flow is more omnipresent in our world of dynamics, from the level of the small molecules to the objects of astronomical sizes. 

If one can appreciate laminar flow for its simplistic beauty, turbulent flow, which represents the chaotic nature of our world, is genuinely more fascinating. Understanding and harnessing the mechanisms behind this natural phenomenon has been helping us to advance many of our causes, such as improving the aerodynamics of a golf ball, designing better jet engines, and predicting weather patterns.

Source: Veritasium via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2021
Microbiology
Cheers to Fermentation - Beer Day 2021
AUG 05, 2021
Cheers to Fermentation - Beer Day 2021
After coffee and tea, beer is the third most popular beverage in the world, and it's been a part of our societies an ...
AUG 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
AUG 09, 2021
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
Magnetization on the moon may come from impact events from objects like meteors instead of the presence of a magnetic sh ...
AUG 10, 2021
Neuroscience
Is consciousness a quantum phenomenon?
AUG 10, 2021
Is consciousness a quantum phenomenon?
Researchers experiments with quantum fractals reveal promising direction for consciousness research
SEP 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Under Pressure: Physicists Discover New Property of Black Holes and Quantum Gravity
SEP 16, 2021
Under Pressure: Physicists Discover New Property of Black Holes and Quantum Gravity
Two physicists at the University of Sussex have made a startling discovery about black holes: they exert a pressure on t ...
SEP 28, 2021
Earth & The Environment
How to Save the World's Coral Reefs? Global Reforestation
SEP 28, 2021
How to Save the World's Coral Reefs? Global Reforestation
With recent news of the world's coral supply standing at just 50% of what it was in the 1950s, any strategies for protec ...
OCT 13, 2021
Space & Astronomy
NASA Plans to Bring Mars Rocks Back to Earth
OCT 13, 2021
NASA Plans to Bring Mars Rocks Back to Earth
In continuing the time-honored tradition of celestial rock collecting, NASA’s Perseverance rover has collected a s ...
Loading Comments...