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Eddies against the wall

Fluids experts writing in the journal Physics of Fluids, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, are projecting it will be many decades before we can accurately probe the properties of turbulence near walls.

High-Reynolds-number flows (which are prone to turbulence) are critically important in aeronautics, naval applications, energy conversion processes, manufacturing, mixing and dilution of pollutants, and in many aspects of climate modeling, according to Professor Hassan Nagib at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Recent advances in computing have allowed great strides to be made in modeling fluids, significantly modifying the traditional fluids framework, but only for flows involving low Reynolds numbers. Future developments in high-Reynolds-number flows depend on improved measuring techniques and the construction of new facilities, say Nagib and his colleagues.

The paper reviews the salient advances that have introduced new elements into the theoretical foundations of fluids and challenged textbook orthodoxy.

"We also highlight aspects where differences of opinion persist," says Nagib, "which we hope might mark the beginning of their resolution." By outlining the gaps in our understanding that still exist, the authors hope, in principle, to provide a roadmap for future research on the topic.

The article, "Wall-bounded turbulent flows at high Reynolds numbers: Recent advances and key issues" by I. Marusic, B. J. McKeon, P. A. Monkewitz, H. M. Nagib, A. J. Smits, and K. R. Sreenivasan was published online in the journal Physics of Fluids on June 29, 2010. See:

Journalists may request a free PDF of this article by contacting


Physics of Fluids is published by the American Institute of Physics with the cooperation of The American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics. The journal is devoted to the publication of original theoretical, computational, and experimental contributions to the dynamics of gases, liquids, and complex or multiphase fluids. Content is published online daily and collected into monthly online and printed issues (12 issues per year). See:


The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
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