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Published June 1996 | Published
Journal Article Open

Perspective: The experimentalist and the problem of turbulence in the age of supercomputers


Due to the rising capabilities of computational fluid mechanics (CFD), the role of the experimentalist in solving the problem of turbulence has come under serious question. However after much initial excitement by the prospect of CFD, the basic understanding of non-linear fluid phenomena such as turbulence still remains a grand challenge and will remain so into the unforeseeable future. It appears that in order to accelerate the development of a comprehensive and practical understanding and modeling of turbulence, it is required that a constructive synergism between experiments and simulations be created. Moreover, the digital revolution has helped experimental fluid mechanics to acquire new capabilities in the whole-field flow mapping technique which enables it to efficiently interface with CFD. This new horizon is promising in its capabilities to guide, validate and actively interact in conducting reliable simulations of turbulent flows.

Additional Information

© 1996 ASME. Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division for publication in the Journal of Fluids Engineering. Manuscript received by the Fluids Engineering Division September 12, 1995; revised manuscript received February 16, 1996. Associate Technical Editor: D. P. Telionis. Anatol Roshko and Anthony Leonard have been my inspiration in developing the points of view in this paper. The encouragement of Edwin Rood has been the key factor in organizing and materializing this paper. Doug Dommermuth, George Karniadakis, Turgut Sarpkaya, Fred Stern, and Dick Yue have been kind enough to provide many clarifying discussions on some of the key issues in CFD. My thanks also goes to Ron Adrian, Nobuhide Kasagi, Dorian Liepmann and Jerry Westerweel for providing data and insight for the latest developments in PIV, DPIV and PTV techniques. Some of the critical comments provided by the reviewers of this paper have been extremely helpful in refining the final manuscript. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Ron Henderson for his critical comments based on his deep enthusiasm for both simulations and experiments.

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August 18, 2023
August 18, 2023