Are there examples of vortex flows (eg: von Karman vortex street or large eddies) which are visualized in a way apart from displaying where the mass is displayed? I can imagine there to be a display based on velocity. But is there a display based on pressure?

From what I have seen, in a display of the vortex street, you can see how a mass of fluid is swirled around and eventually detached from a body, but that information isn't really useful quantitatively. Is it possible to find previous work where someone has measured velocity/forces/pressure around the vortex, is it possible and will a quantitative measurement help in any way?

  • $\begingroup$ Many vortex flows are (quasi) two dimensional, in which case a stream function $\psi$ can be defined and contours of $\psi$ = constant can be plotted. This is a very common way to visualize these flows. $\endgroup$
    – Nick P
    Dec 24, 2013 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ Interest only - 4th photo down here - I took this photo in 2009. $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2015 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


There are many research papers discussing what you are interested in. Even googling will give results, if you are specific enough. I'm sure there are a lot of papers where pressures and velocities are used to display the vortex.

Temperatures can also be used to visualize the vortex street: This video shows this kind of flow visualization well.

Yet, the temperature contours don't really indicate the direction of rotation of the vortex. Another way, is using the Vorticity contours. this is perhaps the most useful way to do so, since it also indicates the direction of rotation of the vortex. This video shows the vorticity contours.

  • $\begingroup$ youtube.com/watch?v=_t5tCrGMIyY This is a movie showing the pressure. Of course with numerical simulations you can relatively easily obtain all this information. $\endgroup$
    – Bernhard
    May 27, 2014 at 6:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.