First steps in modelling turbulence and its origins: a commentary on Reynolds(1895) "On the dynamical theory of incompressible viscous flows and the determination of the criterion".

Brian Launder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Reynolds' paper sought to explain the change in character of flow through a pipe from laminar to turbulent that his earlier experiments had shown to occur when the dimensionless group that today bears his name exceeded approximately 2000. This he did by decomposing the velocity into mean and fluctuating components and noting how the average kinetic energy generation and dissipation rates changed with Reynolds number. The paper was only grudgingly accepted by two very distinguished referees and initially raised little external interest. As years went by, however, the averaged form of the equations of motion, known as the Reynolds equations (which were an intermediate stage in Reynolds' analysis) became the acknowledged starting point for computing turbulent flows. Moreover, some 50 years after his paper, a refinement of his strategy for predicting transition was also successfully taken up. For some engineering problems, the continual rapid growth of computing resources has meant that more detailed approaches for computing turbulent flow phenomena can nowadays be employed. However, this growth of computing power likewise makes possible a Reynolds-averaging strategy for complex flow systems in industry or the environment which formerly had to adopt less comprehensive analyses. Thus, Reynolds' approach may well remain in use throughout the present century. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRoyal Society of London Philosophical Transactions Series A
    Volume373
    Issue number2039
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'First steps in modelling turbulence and its origins: a commentary on Reynolds(1895) "On the dynamical theory of incompressible viscous flows and the determination of the criterion".'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this