Contact Me

Splendor of Fluids in Motion | Microtechnology

Splendor of Fluids in Motion

The world first flow visualization representation below is a sketch of a free water jet issuing from a square hole into a pool, drawn by the hands of Leonardo da Vinci; circa 1500. In the view of John L. Lumley, da Vinci might have prefigured the now famous Reynolds turbulence decomposition nearly 400 years prior to Osborne Reynolds' own pipe-flow visualization! In one of his notebooks, da Vinci wrote (translated by Ugo Piomelli): "Observe the motion of the surface of the water, which resembles that of hair, which has two motions, of which one is caused by the weight of the hair, the other by the direction of the curls; thus the water has eddying motions, one part of which is due to the principal current, the other to the random and reverse motion." For more details, click here.


The three photographs below were taken close to five centuries after that of da Vinci. The first one depicts a top view of a turbulent spot growing by destabilizing the surrounding laminar (vortical) flow. The second is a side view of the large eddies in a turbulent boundary layer. And the last one is a side view of a lifting surface undergoing a pitching maneuver. The top picture was the first to appear in an archival publication (Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 110, p. 73, 1981) showing the utility of flow visualization via laser-induced fluorescence (LIF), a technique which is now widely used around the world for detailing the anatomy of three-dimensional flow fields.

turbulent splot

large eddy