Testing a missing spectral link in turbulence

Hamid Kellay, Tuan Tran, Walter Goldburg, Nigel Goldenfeld, Gustavo Gioia, Pinaki Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the cardinal attribute of turbulence is the velocity fluctuations, these fluctuations have been ignored in theories of the frictional drag of turbulent flows. Our goal is to test a new theory that links the frictional drag to the spectral exponent α, a property of the velocity fluctuations in a flow. We use a soap-film channel wherein for the first time the value of α can be switched between 3 and 5/3, the two theoretically possible values in soap-film flows. To induce turbulence with α=5/3, we make one of the edges of the soap-film channel serrated. Remarkably, the new theory of the frictional drag holds in both soap-film flows (for either value of the spectral exponent α) and ordinary pipe flows (where α=5/3), even though these types of flow are governed by different equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number254502
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 20 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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