Laminar-to-turbulent transition in separation bubbles

The transition of fluid flows from a laminar behaviour to turbulence–referred to as laminar-to-turbulent transition–is one of the chief difficulties in classical physics. While laminar flows are orderly, turbulence involves irregular velocity fluctuations over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The fluctuations enhance the transfer of momentum and energy so that the drag and heat transfer of a body immersed in the flow may potentially be increased. By performing detailed simulations of transition in separation bubbles, the OKCFD Lab can propose modifications to existing semi-empirical transition models can be proposed. This has huge potential for increased efficiency, safety, and decreased costs in aircraft gas-turbine engines, turbomachinery for liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and utilization, and wind-turbine aerodynamics.