Phenomena

An Introduction to the Reynolds Number

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For those who’d like an overview of the mathematics involved in fluid dynamics, Numberphile has a lovely introduction, given by our friend Tom Crawford. The governing equations in fluid dynamics, the Navier-Stokes equations, are quite complicated, but that’s just been inspiration for scientists and mathematicians to come up with clever ways to simplify them. And, ultimately, that’s what the Reynolds number is — a way to help us judge which forces, and therefore which mathematical terms, are the most important in a given problem. (Video credit: Numberphile; submitted by COMPLETE)

GIF displaying various examples of Reynolds number from marbles in treacle (Re ~0.001) through a cruise ship (Re ~ 1 billion)
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