Researchers reveal the tangle under turbulence
Turbulence is important in virtually all phenomena involving fluid flow, such as air and gas mixing in an engine, ocean waves breaking on a cliff and air whipping across the surface of a vehicle. However, a comprehensive description of turbulent fluid motion remains one of physics' major unsolved problems.
Now, in a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, MIT researchers report that they have visualized for the first time a convoluted tangle underlying turbulence. This work may ultimately help engineers design better planes, cars, submarines and engines.
Researchers have long suspected that there's a hidden but coherent structure underlying turbulence's messy complexity, but there has been no objective way of identifying it, said MIT research group leader George Haller, professor of mechanical engineering, who also heads Morgan Stanley's Mathematical Modeling Center in Hungary.
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