Consider parallel flow in the X direction over a 2D semi infinite flat plate. If turbulence is 2-D, in which axes should we expect the vortices to form. Also, are there any experimental/visualization evidence of 2-D vortical turbulent structures?

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    $\begingroup$ Around the axis which is othogonal to the 2D plate. $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Physics! Please see our homework policy. We expect homework problems to have some effort put into them, and deal with conceptual issues. If you edit your question to explain (1) What you have tried, (2) the concept you have trouble with, and (3) your level of understanding, I'll be happy to reopen this. (Flag this message for ♦ attention with a custom message, or reply to me in the comments with @Manishearth to notify me) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton i.e. in the Y and Z axes? $\endgroup$
    – jadelord
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ @user2018790 Atmospheric turbulence is experimentally verified to be largely a 2-D Turbulence phenomenon. It does exist. $\endgroup$
    – jadelord
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth please reopen the question. As you might have observed from the other users, it is not a homework problem, but a healthy discussion. $\endgroup$
    – jadelord
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


There are many examples of 2D turbulence. Many experiments involving 2D turbulence use flow in a thin film of soap. 2D turbulence is pretty easy to model too, and I've even seen online web-based examples: http://www.ibiblio.org/e-notes/webgl/gpu/fluid.htm

One super interesting thing about 2D turbulence is the "Inverse energy cascade." In traditional 3D turbulence big eddies break apart into smaller and smaller eddies:

Big whirls have little whirls That heed on their velocity, And little whirls have littler whirls And so on to viscosity. - L.F. Richardson

in 2D turbulence smaller eddies can and often do combine to form larger eddies.

You may consider reading this article: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-fluid-120710-101240


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