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Fluid flow in which the fluid undergoes irregular fluctuations, or mixing. The speed of the fluid at a point is continuously undergoing changes in magnitude and direction, which results in swirling and eddying as the bulk of the fluid moves in a specific direction. Common examples of turbulent flow include atmospheric and ocean currents, blood flow in arteries, oil transport in pipelines, lava flow, flow through pumps and turbines, and the flow in boat wakes and around aircraft wing tips.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on turbulent flow, visit Britannica.com.