Elasto-inertial turbulence

Devranjan Samanta, Yves Dubief, Markus Holzner, Christof Schäfer, Alexander N. Morozov, Christian Wagner, Björn Hof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Turbulence is ubiquitous in nature, yet even for the case of ordinary Newtonian fluids like water, our understanding of this phenomenon is limited. Many liquids of practical importance are more complicated (e.g., blood, polymer melts, paints), however; they exhibit elastic as well as viscous characteristics, and the relation between stress and strain is nonlinear. We demonstrate here for a model system of such complex fluids that at high shear rates, turbulence is not simply modified as previously believed but is suppressed and replaced by a different type of disordered motion, elasto-inertial turbulence. Elasto-inertial turbulence is found to occur at much lower Reynolds numbers than Newtonian turbulence, and the dynamical properties differ significantly. The friction scaling observed coincides with the so-called "maximum drag reduction" asymptote, which is exhibited by a wide range of viscoelastic fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10557-10562
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 25 2013


  • Elastic instabilities
  • Non-Newtonian fluids
  • Polymer drag reduction
  • Transition to turbulence

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