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Monday, November 03, 2014
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


How heat is transported in a rotating fluid: Lessons in fluid physics and applications to geophysical systems

Robert Ecke

The transport of heat is tremendously important in many everyday applications: heating/cooling your house or office, keeping the engine in your car from melting down, operating your computer, etc. On a global scale, heat transport in atmospheres and oceans determines both weather and climate. I will discuss the fundamentals of how fluids greatly enhance heat transport efficiency relative to heat transport in solids, how dimensionless variables play a critical role in understanding fluid systems, and how laboratory experiments can provide precise tests of fluid physics. As an example of heat transport, I’ll talk about thermal convection where an unstable temperature gradient produces fluid motion. To provide contact with geophysical systems, I will address how a uniform rotation modifies the structure and heat transport of thermal convection. In the end, I’ll talk about how the intersection of mathematical asymptotics, computer simulation, and laboratory experiments has emerged in the last few years as a hot area of fluid dynamics research at the border of fundamental fluid dynamics and geophysical systems that includes the outer core of the earth, the atmosphere of Jupiter, and convective processes in stellar environments.

Host: Aric Hagberg