In fluid mechanics, there are two types of fluid flow. These are laminar and turbulent flows. No wonder, there is one more type of fluid flow that comes between them i.e transient flow. But, in this exclusive article, we are only interested in the first two.

The main difference between laminar and turbulent flow is that laminar flow follows a straight-line direction. And, turbulent flow follows a zig-zag pathway. In other words, Laminar flows are smooth and regular, whereas, turbulent flows are irregular and chaotic. Based on Reynolds Number, we can also differentiate between these two.

In this article, I am gonna walk you through some of the most significant laminar vs turbulent flow differences. We will also talk about some of the similarities between the two. So, without wasting any time, let’s dive right in…!!!

## 10 Differences Between Laminar and Turbulent Flow

Laminar Flow | Turbulent Flow | |

1. | Laminar flows are smooth and regular. | Turbulent flows are chaotic and irregular. |

2. | Laminar flow occurs generally at low velocity. | Turbulent flow generally occurs at high velocity. |

3. | If Reynolds number is smaller than 2300 then the fluid is Laminar. | If Reynolds number is greater than 4000 then the fluid is turbulent. |

4. | Energy loss is minimal. | Energy loss is significant. |

5. | Laminar flow shows a constant flow rate. | Turbulence flow shows a fluctuating flow rate. |

6. | Laminar fluids show low pressure drop. | Turbulent fluids shows high pressure drop. |

7. | High Viscosity. | Low Viscosity. |

8. | Frictional forces are small. | Frictional forces are large. |

9. | There is no mixing of fluids during laminar flow. | There is a mixing of fluids during turbulent flow. |

10. | Examples of laminar flow include fountain pens, flow of honey, etc. | Examples of turbulent flow include waterfall, atmospheric turbulence, etc. |

## What is a Laminar Flow?

Laminar flow is a type of fluid 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.

**Properties of Laminar Flow**

Some of the properties of laminar flow are:

- Predictable.
- Poor heat transfer
- Energy loss is minimal.
- High viscosity
- Uniform wall shear stress
- Low noise pollution, etc.

**Examples of Laminar Flow**

Some examples of laminar flow are:

- Flow of Oil in a Pipeline
- Honey
- Fountain Pen
- Airplane in the Sky
- Flow of Oil in Machinery
- Flow of steam through a turbine blade
- Canal system
- Water Balloon
- Flow of gas through a capillary tube
- Fountains and tap water, etc.

## What is a Turbulent Flow?

Turbulent flow is a type of fluid (liquid or gas) flow that is characterized by chaotic, unpredictable, and irregular fluctuation in velocity, pressure, and other flow parameters. This type of fluid flow does not flow in a straight direction. It rather moves in a zig-zag way.

The basic criteria to define whether the fluid flow is laminar or turbulent is using the Reynolds number. If the Reynolds number of the given fluid is greater than 4000 then the given fluid is turbulent in nature.

**Properties of Turbulent Flow**

Some of the properties of turbulent flow are:

- Unpredictable.
- Good heat transfer
- Energy loss is high.
- Low viscosity
- Fluctuating wall shear stress
- High noise pollution, etc.

**Examples of Turbulent Flow**

Some examples of turbulent flow are:

- River Flow
- Smoke from Chimney
- Waterfall
- Blood Flow in the Circulatory System
- Jet Engines
- Atmospheric Turbulence
- Ocean Waves
- Car Exhaust
- River Rapids
- Air from Fan
- Mixing of Fluids, etc

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