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Reynolds number

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From the Wikipedia article on the subject:

In fluid mechanics, the Reynolds number (Re) is a dimensionless number that gives a measure of the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces and consequently quantifies the relative importance of these two types of forces for given flow conditions.

Below we see an animation for Re from -45 - 10^7:

Animation of Re

Reynolds numbers frequently arise when performing dimensional analysis of fluid dynamics problems, and as such can be used to determine dynamic similitude between different experimental cases.

They are also used to characterize different flow regimes, such as laminar or turbulent flow: laminar flow occurs at low Reynolds numbers, where viscous forces are dominant, and is characterized by smooth, constant fluid motion; turbulent flow occurs at high Reynolds numbers

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