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By Philip Ball

From the swirl of a wisp of smoke to eddies in rivers, and the massive power hurricane approach that's the good spot on Jupiter, we see related kinds and styles anywhere there's circulate - even if the circulation of wind, water, sand, or flocks of birds. it's the complicated dynamics of circulate that buildings our surroundings, land, and oceans.

Part of a trilogy of books exploring the technology of styles in nature through acclaimed technology author Philip Ball, this quantity explores the elusive ideas that govern move - the technology of chaotic habit.

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Additional info for Flow: Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts

Sample text

In effect, the wake of the flow is continually shedding eddies, first on one side and then on the other. Although, as we have seen, structures rather like this can be seen in Leonardo’s sketches, they do not seem to have been reported in a formal scientific context until 1908, when the French physicist Henri Be´nard published a paper called ‘Formation of rotation centres behind a moving obstacle’. But Be´nard’s work was not known to the German engineer Ludwig Prantl when he made a study of cylinder wakes in 1911.

7: The Ka´rma´n vortex street arises from ‘eddy shedding’. Circulating vortices behind the obstacle are shed from alternate sides and borne along in the wake. Here one eddy is in the process of forming just after that on the opposite side has been shed. ) wings after a downstroke so that they receive a little push from the circulating eddy this creates. If the flow rate is increased still further, the vortices in the street begin to lose their regularity, and the wake of the pillar seems to degenerate into chaos.

The origin of these bands is still disputed, but they may be the product of small-scale eddies pulled and blended into latitudinal jets by the planet’s rotation. Peter Olson and Jean-Baptiste Manneville have shown that a similar banded structure can arise from convection in a laboratory model of Jupiter’s atmosphere. They used water to mimic the fluid atmosphere (since it has a similar density), trapped between two concentric spheres 25 and 30 centimetres across. The inner sphere was chilled by filling it with cold antifreeze; the outer sphere was of clear plastic, so that the flow pattern could be seen.

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