Laminar Flow Examples in Real Life

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Wanna know what are the top 6 real life examples of laminar flow? If yes, then you are at the right place at the very right time. But before going ahead, let me tell you what is laminar flow? Laminar flow is a type of fluid flow (opposite to turbulent flow) that is characterized by the smooth, undisturbed, orderly movement of fluids during which the particles of fluid flow in parallel layers with little to no mixing between them.

In other words, this type of liquid always flows in a straight line fashion. Just like turbulent flow, the basic criteria to define whether the fluid flow is laminar or turbulent is using the Reynolds Number. If the Reynolds number of the fluid is smaller than 2300 then the given fluid is laminar in nature.

Laminar Flow Examples in Real Life

  • Smoke
  • Flow of Oil in a Pipeline
  • Honey
  • Fountain Pen
  • Airplane in the Sky
  • Flow of Oil in Machinery


Image Source: University of Kentucky

The very first one in my list of real-life laminar flow examples is the motion (flow) of smoke in the atmosphere. No one can deny the fact that when the smoke rises higher and higher from its originating point, it typically shows a turbulent flow.

However, when the smoke just comes out of the chimney or a cigarette, due to its high density and low velocity at the start of its journey, it exhibits laminar flow. In other words, the particle of the smoke does not mix with each other, therefore exhibits smooth and laminar flow.

Flow of Oil in a Pipeline

Image Source: Oil Price

With the ever-growing latest tech, nowadays, we are transporting crude oil products such as LNG or PNG through pipelines rather than transporting them through old-school methods like container vehicles. We are doing this because the oil we transport through pipelines exhibits laminar fluid motion.

This in turn increases the efficiency of the transportation system. Because the pipeline is typically designed to be smooth and straight, allowing the oil to flow in smooth layers without any turbulence.


Image Source: The Manual

The higher the viscosity of the fluid, the higher will be the chance that the given fluid exhibits laminar flow. A typical example of a fluid having high viscosity is honey which exhibits laminar flow.

When fluids like honey, syrups, or glycerin are poured into a container, due to high viscosity and, of course, less velocity, their flow seems orderly, undisturbed, and smooth during which the particles of the fluid flow in parallel layers with little to no mixing between them.

Fountain Pen

Image Source: Fountain Pen Hospital

One typical example of laminar flow is the flow of ink from a fountain pen. Well, not just a fountain pen, it can be an ink pen or a ball pen. Any pen we need to write exhibits a laminar flow.

When we write, the ink coming out through the narrow tip of the pen flows smoothly with little to no mixing between the layers allowing us to write precisely and in a beautiful manner.

Airplane in the Sky

Image Source: Wallpaper Abyss

When an airplane takes off, it starts with zero velocity and then achieves desired altitude and speed, this is the time when it can fly at a steady-state uniform motion. While landing, it will again go back to its non-uniform speed with a decrease in the velocity of the airplane with respect to the runway.

When an airplane starts to move, due to a change in its velocity, we experience turbulence. This occurs due to the turbulence caused by air particles that move randomly and get mixed with each other.

On the other hand, when an airplane reaches its desired speed and altitude, its velocity becomes zero. As a result, there exists little to no mixing of air and gaseous particles, hence, we see the laminar flow of air around the aircraft.

Flow of Oil in Machinery

Image Source: SLS Bearings

Last but not least one in my list of examples of laminar flow in daily life is the flow of oil in machinery. The flow of oil in types of machinery such as engines and turbines can exhibit laminar flow.

The oil in any machine smoothly flows through the channels and passages with little to no mixing between the layers, hence exhibiting a laminar form of fluid motion.

Some Other Examples of Laminar Flow in Real Life

Apart from the above-mentioned ones, I am also mentioning a few here.

  • Flow of steam through a turbine blade
  • Canal system
  • Water Balloon
  • Flow of gas through a capillary tube
  • Fountains and tap water, etc.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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