Laminar Flow

Definition - What does Laminar Flow mean?

Laminar flow is a kind of liquid or gas flow wherein a fluid passes through a conduit regularly or smoothly. This is contrary to a turbulent flow, where the fluid goes through mixing and irregular fluctuations. The pressure, velocity and other properties in the solution stay constant in a laminar flow. On a horizontal surface, laminar flow may appear to consist of laminae or thin layers that look parallel side by side.

This phenomenon takes place when a solution flows in a parallel direction without interruption between each layer. At low velocities, fluid seems to flow with no lateral mixing—adjacent layers glide past each other, similar to playing cards. Fluid swirls, eddies and cross currents are nowhere to be found vertical to the flow. This is precisely characterized as a flow system described by short momentum convection and elevated momentum diffusion.

Laminar flow is also referred to as streamline flow.

Corrosionpedia explains Laminar Flow

Fluid that is smoothly moving throughout a closed conduit, such as between two plates or a pipe, may lead to two flow types depending on the velocity of the fluid—turbulent or laminar. The latter is most likely to happen at lesser velocities, beneath the inception of the former. Turbulent flow does not present an orderly flow system, since it is characterized by small fluid particles or eddies leading to lateral mixing. In simple terms, laminar flow is smooth while turbulent flow is a rough flow.

Determining the kind of flow that is taking place in a solution is essential when it comes to issues in fluid dynamics. The Reynolds number, which is a dimensionless parameter, is capable of defining whether the flow is turbulent or laminar. When the Reynolds number is under the crucial value of about 2040, the motion of the fluid will be completely laminar; at a higher number, the flow can be defined as turbulent. If the number is below 1, stokes or creeping flow occurs, which is an ultra-laminar flow case where the effects of friction are higher compared to the inertial forces.
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