The Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 49

Take a look at the full table of contents for the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 49.

Volume 49 opens with a biography: “An Appreciation of the Life and Work of William C. Reynolds” by Moin and Homsy. Written by people who knew Reynolds and his work very well, it’s full of fond memories and appreciation for a teacher and friend. I especially liked this paragraph:

As a scientist, Reynolds was the ultimate independent thinker, a self-starter, do-it-yourselfer, a hands-on problem solver, and, in the most favorable sense of the term, a micromanager. In following his own intuition, Bill might have reinvented the proverbial wheel, but in the process he found novel and exciting ideas and designs that enriched the engineering field and inspired the people around him. He was a true believer in the familiar maxim (which he repeated quite often) that “if you want it done right, you had better do it yourself.” He designed his own house and once told one of us (G.M.H.) who was undertaking a similar venture that “sure, you’ll make mistakes, but they will be your mistakes.” Not a natural delegator, he immersed himself in many diverse projects with boundless energy and indefatigable enthusiasm. In the words of his son Russell, Bill felt that “anything worth doing was worth overdoing.”

cloud-top

One of my favorite things to do on planes is to stare at the tops of clouds because they look so very solid from up there. Reading Mellado’s article “Cloud-Top Entrainment in Stratocumulus Clouds,” I learned a lot about what happens at that top boundary layer between clear sky and cloud. As with most topics in the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, it’s very complicated and equation heavy. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that what seems like a clear boundary isn’t: “the boundary of a cloud is an elusive concept: Clouds are dilute and disperse suspensions of droplets in moist air, and what looks like a sharp boundary from far away is a transition region scattered with cloud filaments of various sizes and various microphysical properties.” So now on planes I’ll have a completely new series of things to distract me as I stare at clouds.

When I first encountered the article “Vapor Bubbles” by Prosperetti, I was surprised to discover that something I think of as ordinary is actually tremendously complicated:

…geysers, hydrothermal vents, and volcanic eruptions are all phenomena intimately associated with vapor bubbles. The destruction caused by boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions (BLEVEs) is occasionally featured in the media. The phenomenon occurs when a liquid-filled tank is accidentally exposed to fire, which causes the pressure to rise so much that the tank ruptures. A rarefaction wave propagating in the liquid causes rapid vaporization, which results in an even stronger pressure buildup with a violent dispersion of the tank’s contents.

That’s something to remember when watching the fire creep ever closer to the tanker truck in the next blockbuster!

Finally, Stevens & Meneveau’s article “Flow Structure and Turbulence in Wind Farms” gave me a different way of thinking about wind energy. I’m a fan of wind farming in general, but had never given much thought to the ways the turbulent flow coming from the turbine could affect the rest of the turbines. It’s really interesting how it impacts decisions about wind farm layout.

Suzanne K. Moses is Annual Reviews’ Senior Electronic Content Coordinator. For 15+ years, she has played a central role in the publication of Annual Reviews’ online articles. Not a single page is posted online without first being proofed and quality checked by Suzanne.