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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)