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An object moving through a gas or liquid experiences a force in direction opposite to its motion. Terminal velocity is achieved when the drag force is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the force propelling the object. Shown is a sphere in Stokes flow, at very low Reynolds number.

Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. In fluid dynamics, laminar flow is a flow regime characterized by high momentum diffusion and low momentum convection. It is the opposite of turbulent flow. In nonscientific terms laminar flow is "smooth," while turbulent flow is "rough."

The dimensionless Reynolds number is an important parameter in the equations that describe whether flow conditions lead to laminar or turbulent flow. In the case of flow through a straight pipe with a circular cross-section, Reynolds numbers of less than 2300 are generally considered to be of a laminar type [1]; however, the Reynolds number upon which laminar flows become turbulent is dependent upon the flow geometry. When the Reynolds number is much less than 1, Creeping motion or Stokes flow occurs. This is an extreme case of laminar flow where viscous (friction) effects are much greater than inertial forces.

For example, consider the flow of air over an airplane wing. The boundary layer is a very thin sheet of air lying over the surface of the wing (and all other surfaces of the airplane). Because air has viscosity, this layer of air tends to adhere to the wing. As the wing moves forward through the air, the boundary layer at first flows smoothly over the streamlined shape of the airfoil. Here the flow is called laminar and the boundary layer is a laminar layer.

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in direction opposite to its motion. Terminal velocity is achieved when the drag force is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the force propelling the object. Shown is a sphere in Stokes flow, at very low Reynolds number.]]

Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. In fluid dynamics, laminar flow is a flow regime characterized by high momentum diffusion and low momentum convection. It is the opposite of turbulent flow. In nonscientific terms laminar flow is "smooth," while turbulent flow is "rough."

The dimensionless Reynolds number is an important parameter in the equations that describe whether flow conditions lead to laminar or turbulent flow. In the case of flow through a straight pipe with a circular cross-section, Reynolds numbers of less than 2300 are generally considered to be of a laminar type[1]; however, the Reynolds number upon which laminar flows become turbulent is dependent upon the flow geometry. When the Reynolds number is much less than 1, Creeping motion or Stokes flow occurs. This is an extreme case of laminar flow where viscous (friction) effects are much greater than inertial forces.

For example, consider the flow of air over an aircraft wing. The boundary layer is a very thin sheet of air lying over the surface of the wing (and all other surfaces of the aircraft). Because air has viscosity, this layer of air tends to adhere to the wing. As the wing moves forward through the air, the boundary layer at first flows smoothly over the streamlined shape of the airfoil. Here the flow is called laminar and the boundary layer is a laminar layer. Prandtl applied the concept of the laminar boundary layer to airfoils in 1904.[2][3]

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Simple English

Laminar flow is a flow that is smooth. Laminar flow is when two layers of fluids flow over each other.


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