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A New Theory of Turbulence Causes a Stir Among Experts

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Science  17 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 951
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5264.951


Two mathematicians are claiming that a basic formula of turbulence is flawed. The formula, known as the logarithmic law of the wall, describes how the velocity of a turbulent fluid slows in a thin layer near a surface, and it provides a convenient rule of thumb for the design of aircraft, pipelines, and other structures that operate in a fluid environment. The new analysis finds that the assumptions underlying the law of the wall are flawed, and it is off by as much as 65%. While the effect is too small to be a safety concern, the claim is roiling the field of turbulence. Computers/Math