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Turbulence Research

Figure of intense enstrophy, residing in long, thin tubes surrounded by large-energy dissipation

Fluctuations of the energy dissipation rate and enstrophy represent, respectively, the intensity of local straining and rotation that are important for understanding the effects of turbulent fluid motions in problems such as combustion and pollution dispersion. This figure is a sample visualization, performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), which shows that intense enstrophy (red iso-contours) tends to reside in long, but thin, tubes surrounded by large-energy dissipation (blue/green volume rendering). The data are from a 2,048^3 computation, while similar features at greater intensity levels are expected for 4,096^3 (visualizations currently in progress). This figure was created during on-going research on turbulence, performed by P. K. Yeung, professor of aerospace engineering and computational science and engineering at Georgia Tech, and his colleagues.

"Untangling the riddles of turbulence," says Yeung, "Would make it possible for airlines to save fuel by reducing aerodynamic drag, predict pollutant dispersion in an industrial accident or terrorist attack, and design combustion engines that burn more efficiently and cleaner."

To learn more about this research, see the TeraGrid news release, "Secrets of the Whirlwind." [Support for visualizations provided by the National Science Foundation TeraGrid Project.] (Date of Image: Summer 2008)

Credit: Image courtesy Greg P. Johnson, Kelly Gaither (TACC) and Diego Donzis, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland
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