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The Enigma of the Transition to Turbulence in a Pipe

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Date and time Mar 15, 2007
from 05:10 PM to 06:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Stephen Morris

Tom Mullin

Transition to turbulence in a pipe has been described as THE outstanding challenge in hydrodynamic stability theory since all theoretical work suggests that the flow should be laminar and yet most pipe flows are turbulent.  A discussion of recent experimental investigations into the stability of the flow along a pipe will be given.  The transition to turbulence is catastrophic when a well-defined finite amplitude of perturbations is exceeded.  The stability threshold scales inversely proportional to the Reynolds number, Re, with a sharp cut off at low Re values.  On the other hand, the decay from the turbulent state exhibits systematic exponential behavior with diverging timescales which are indicative of critical behavior.  The long transients contain spatio-temporal coherence which suggest connections with recent theoretical developments.

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Affiliation Department of Physics and Astronomy
Contact Name Stephen Morris
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