Manufacturing processes that can create extremely small machines have been developed in recent years. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) refer to devices that have characteristic length of less than 1 mm but more than 1 micron, that combine electrical and mechanical components and that are fabricated using integrated circuit batch-processing techniques. Electrostatic, magnetic, pneumatic and thermal actuators, motors, valves, gears, and tweezers of less than 100-μm size have been fabricated. These have been used as sensors for pressure, temperature, mass flow, velocity and sound, as actuators for linear and angular motions, and as simple components for complex systems such as micro-heat-engines and micro-heat-pumps. The technology is progressing at a rate that far exceeds that of our understanding of the unconventional physics involved in the operation as well as the manufacturing of those minute devices. The primary objective of this article is to critically review the status of our understanding of fluid flow phenomena particular to microdevices. In terms of applications, the paper emphasizes the use of MEMS as sensors and actuators for flow diagnosis and control.
This brief article reviews the important advances in the field of flow control that took place during the past few years. This broad area of research remains of great interest for its numerous potential benefits for both the military and civilian sectors. Spurred by the recent developments in chaos control, microfabrication and neural networks, reactive control of turbulent flows is now in the realm of the possible for future practical devices. Other less complex control schemes, passive as well as active, are more market ready and are also witnessing resurgence of interest.
Erosion and deposition over a barchan dune near the Salton Sea, California, is modelled by book‐keeping the quantity of sand in saltation following streamlines of transport. Field observations of near‐surface wind velocity and direction plus supplemental measurements of the velocity distribution over a scale model of the dune are combined as input to Bagnold‐type sand‐transport formulae corrected for slope effects. A unidirectional wind is assumed. The resulting patterns of erosion and deposition compare closely with those observed in the field and those predicted by the assumption of equilibrium (downwind translation of the dune without change in size or geometry). Discrepancies between the simulated results and the observed or predicted erosional patterns appear to be largely due to natural fluctuation in the wind direction. Although the model includes a provision for a lag in response of the transport rate to downwind changes in applied shear stress, the best results are obtained when no delay is assumed. The shape of barchan dunes is a function of grain size, velocity, degree of saturation of the oncoming flow, and the variability in the direction of the oncoming wind. Smaller grain size or higher wind speed produce a steeper and more blunt stoss‐side. Low saturation of the inter‐dune sandflow produces open crescent‐moon‐shaped dunes, whereas high saturation produces a whaleback form with a small slip face. Dunes subject to winds of variable direction are blunter than those under unidirectional winds. The size of barchans could be proportional to natural atmospheric scales, to the age of the dune, or to the upwind roughness. The upwind roughness can be controlled by fixed elements or by the sand is saltation. In the latter case, dune scale may be proportional to wind velocity and inversely proportional to grain size. However, because the effective velocity for transport increases with grain size, dune scale may increase with grain size as observed by Wilson (1972).
Under certain conditions, wall-bounded flows separate. To improve the performance of natural or man-made flow systems, it may be beneficial to delay or advance this detachment process. The present article reviews the status and outlook of separation control for both steady and unsteady flows. Both passive and active techniques to prevent or to provoke flow detachment are considered and suggestions are made for further research.
Turbulent spots evolving in a laminar boundary layer on a nominally zero pressure gradient flat plate are investigated. The plate is towed through an 18 m water channel, using a carriage that rides on a continuously replenished oil film giving a vibrationless tow. Turbulent spots are initiated using a solenoid valve that ejects a small amount of fluid through a minute hole on the working surface. A novel visualization technique that utilizes fluorescent dye excited by a sheet of laser light is employed. Some new aspects of the growth and entrainment of turbulent spots, especially with regard to lateral growth, are inferred from the present experiments. To supplement the information on lateral spreading, a surbulent wedge created by placing a roughness element in the laminar boundary layer is also studied both visually and with probe measurements. The present results show that, in addition to entrainment, another mechanism is needed to explain the lateral growth characteristics of a turbulent region in a laminar boundary layer. This mechanism, termed growth by destabilization, appears to be a result of the turbulence destabilizing the unstable laminar boundary layer in its vicinity. To further understand the growth mechanisms, the turbulence in the spot is modulated using drag-reducing additives and salinity stratification.
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