Smoke Transition

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Smoke issuing from a round jet undergoes transition from laminar to turbulent flow. As the smoke moves past the unmoving ambient air, the friction between these two layers creates shear and triggers a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, recognizable by the formation and roll up of vortices along the edges of the jet. Those vortices then roll together in pairs, detach, and devolve into a generally turbulent flow. Because turbulence is far more efficient at mixing than a laminar flow is, the smoke seems to disappear.

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