The structure of turbulence

  • Theodore Theodorsen


Turbulence is directly related to the existence of a shear or boundary layer. In such a layer there exists under equilibrium conditions a balance between the creative and destructive processes. The author has shown that to account for the creative process there existes a definite structure, characterized as a universal element of turbulence. This element, because of an obvious resemblance in form, has been termed the “horseshoe”. The predicted structure constitutes a nonstationary solution of the equation of motion. The main horseshoe is the shear transmitting element. It is shown that its surface is covered by a multiple arrangement of ever smaller order horseshoes. Reports on experimental work will be available in the near future, as will also a kinematographic record showing the development of the basic horseshoe structure in a boundary layer.


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  1. [1]
    Theodorsen, Theodore: Mechanism of Turbulence. Proceedings of the Second Midwestern Conference on Fluid Mechanics, Ohio State University, 1952.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Schubauer, G. B. and Skramstad, H. K.: Laminar Boundary Layer Oscillations on a Flat Plate. NACA Tech. Rep. No. 909 (1948).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1955

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Theodorsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Fairchild Engine and Airplane CorporationFarmingdale, Long IslandUSA

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