Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Physicists Trash Turbulence Lab & Turn Pleasant Stream Into Raging Torrent

14.04.2005


Researchers at the University of Warwick have trashed the world’s biggest turbulence lab by turning a pleasant stream into a raging torrent - but they say their actions will lead to new understandings in one of the main unsolved problems in physics- turbulence.



Turbulence is one of the main unsolved problems in physics. Turbulent systems fluctuate wildly and understanding this will also help us understand (and put a number on the likelihood of) extreme events in other systems that look the same in terms of the mathematics, such as the weather, and stock market prices.

It is technically very challenging to study turbulence on earth, either in the laboratory or on even the largest computers that are available. A very large experiment is needed, and so researchers have turned to space to use the whole solar system as a turbulence laboratory. The solar system is filled by the sun’s expanding atmosphere - the solar wind, we see its effects directly here on earth as "space weather" (the northern lights). The solar wind also effects how cosmic rays reach the earth, which may have important consequences for earth weather and climate change.


A familiar example of turbulence is a stream flowing over a weir. A trick often used to study this is to follow a "passive scalar" - an element of the flow that follows the flow but does not cause or suffer significant change. In the case of a stream a passive scalar might be a leaf floating downstream. In the case of the solar wind it was hoped that the density of the wind is passive, allowing researchers to use a relatively simple set of mathematical tools to model the turbulence.

However new results about to appear in Physics Review Letters by researchers at the University of Warwick has shown that the density in the solar wind behaves less like a leaf in a stream and more like a pile of enormous boulders and tree trunks being smashed along a raging torrent of water.

The research by Dr Bogdan Hnat, Professor Sandra Chapman, and Professor George Rowlands at The University of Warwick’s Department of Physics, and which drew on data from the NASA ACE satellite indicates that turbulence scientists will have to abandon using the density of the solar wind as their "passive scalar" leaf and seek more complex solutions to their problems.

Prof. Sandra Chapman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information
21.07.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion
21.07.2017 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>