Turbulent Flow

Definition - What does Turbulent Flow mean?

Turbulent flow is a type of flow system characterized by disorganized property changes. This can include any of the following:

  • High momentum convection
  • Low momentum diffusion
  • Quick velocity and pressure variation

An increase in turbulent flow is usually caused by pitting and other patterns that rapidly lead to elevated corrosion rates that eventually develop into leaks.

Turbulent flow is also known as turbulence or flow turbulence.

Corrosionpedia explains Turbulent Flow

The presence of increased turbulence signifies impending erosion. Thus, it is vital that industries, especially those that deal with piping systems and machinery, must be able to rule out the risk of damage associated with turbulent flow.

Turbulence has the following features:

  • Consistent energy source, since turbulence dissipates quickly
  • Irregular or chaotic flows, which should be treated statistically
  • Increased diffusivity or fast mixing of fluids responsible for improved mass rate, energy and momentum

When there is increased turbulent flow, damage may follow. Erosion corrosion is a product of a harsh chemical environment and surfaces with high fluid velocities. Thus, the damage can be an outcome of rapid flow of fluid on a motionless object like oil valves and pipes. In some cases, corrosion results from the rapid action of a particular object to non-moving fluid, like when propellers churn water.

Surfaces that have gone through erosion corrosion caused by high turbulence flow are typically clean, unlike with surfaces affected by other corrosion types. Erosion corrosion is closely related to turbulent flow and is usually found in industrial settings involving turbulent flow to maintain flow of fluids.

Although this is the case, erosion corrosion caused by rapid turbulent flow can be prevented using harder alloys, such as welded facings or those that are flame sprayed. Ample protection against the effects of extremely high turbulent flow is crucial in efficient operations.

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