Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists Trash Turbulence Lab And Turn Pleasant Stream Into Raging Torrent

Date:
April 15, 2005
Source:
University Of Warwick
Summary:
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 new understandings in one of the main unsolved problems in physics-turbulence.

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.

Notes:

This research was funded by PPARC. For useful links see also www.warwick.ac.uk/go/space/ (Space and Astrophysics at Warwick) and www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE/ (includes picture gallery of ACE spacecraft).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Warwick. "Physicists Trash Turbulence Lab And Turn Pleasant Stream Into Raging Torrent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050415114901.htm>.
University Of Warwick. (2005, April 15). Physicists Trash Turbulence Lab And Turn Pleasant Stream Into Raging Torrent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050415114901.htm
University Of Warwick. "Physicists Trash Turbulence Lab And Turn Pleasant Stream Into Raging Torrent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050415114901.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins