Three Flows in One

These plumes of smoke demonstrate the three types of fluid flow: laminar, transitional, and turbulent. At the bottom of the photo, the plumes are smooth and orderly, as is typical for laminar flow. At the top, the smoke’s movement is chaotic and intermittent, full of turbulent eddies. Between these two stages, the flow is in transition; there is still some semblance of order to it, but disturbances in the plume are getting amplified and breaking down into turbulence.

Photo credit: J. Russo

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