Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Definitions: Laminar Flow

Department of things that go smoothly.

Laminar Flow: A sort of non-turbulent motion of a fluid, whether it's a liquid or a gas.

Watch smoke rising from the tip of a cigarette. At first it rises straight up.

That's laminar flow - straight.

Higher up, it goes all nuts.

That's turbulent flow.

Some say that laminar flow is important to alcohol stoves because it transports vaporized fuel straight up from the fuel's surface to the bottom of the pot in a smooth and sophisticated sort of way, at which point it's finally OK to let it get all turbulent and burn.

The idea is that this puts the point of combustion right along the bottom surface of the cooking pot and is more efficient.

Some say that it's better to have turbulence start early in the process so that the fuel and air mix thoroughly long before they begin burning.

Some say it tastes like licorice, but hotter, and burns the tongue.

Some say where the hell is dinner and why are we talking about all this crap?

Some just stare at the sky vacantly and continue to drool in peace for long quiet moments.