Developments in turbulence research : A review based on the 1999 Programme of the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge

  • Hunt J
  • Sandham N
  • Vassilicos J
 et al. 
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Recent research is making progress in framing more precisely the basic dynamical and statistical questions about turbulence and in answering them. It is helping both to define the likely limits to current methods for modelling industrial and environmental turbulent flows, and to suggest new approaches to overcome these limitations. Our selective review is based on the themes and new results that emerged from more than 300 presentations during the Programme held in 1999 at the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, UK, and on research reported elsewhere. A general conclusion is that, although turbulence is not a universal state of nature, there are certain statistical measures and kinematic features of the small-scale flow field that occur in most turbulent flows, while the large-scale eddy motions have qualitative similarities within particular types of turbulence defined by the mean flow, initial or boundary conditions, and in some cases, the range of Reynolds numbers involved. The forced transition to turbulence of laminar flows caused by strong external disturbances was shown to be highly dependent on their amplitude, location, and the type of flow. Global and elliptical instabilities explain much of the three-dimensional and sudden nature of the transition phenomena. A review of experimental results shows how the structure of turbulence, especially in shear flows, continues to change as the Reynolds number of the turbulence increases well above about 10 4

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