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University of Iowa IIHR fluid dynamics

These well-made films move quickly and cover many key principles of aerodynamics.




Hunter Rouse

Former Director of the IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering center, Hunter Rouse, produced and starred in this wonderful series of educational videos. He was one of the world’s leading authorities on the mechanics of fluid turbulence. Before moving to the University of Iowa, Mr. Rouse taught at MIT and at Columbia (my alma mater).

The films were originally produced in the early 1960s. They are unusual because they were shot entirely in color and follow a fast-paced modern format.

Series Overview

There is an excellent video in the series about laminar and turbulent flows. The meaning of the Reynolds and Mach numbers is also discussed. Interesting experiments demonstrating the concepts are used throughout.

All of the topics covered in the videos directly apply towards understanding how airplanes fly. Understanding Reynolds number, laminar flow, and turbulent flow is specially useful towards making sense of why model airplanes fly the way that they do.

Each video is about 25 minutes long and they are all professionally shot. Transcripts of the videos are also available on the series website (link below). This is an excellent way to learn more about how our models fly!

College Level

I will not kid you. These videos are at the level of a college course. They move quickly and are jam-packed full of information. Like a good college course, there is an emphasis on using the correct terminology and on learning the key concepts.

If math makes your head spin and you find science boring, then these videos are probably not for you. But I think it is well-worth the effort to try and watch at least the first video in the series. Download and print out the PDF transcript. Each transcript is only about half a dozen pages. This is definitely an example of a situation where the more you put into it, the more you will get out.

University of Iowa IIHR Fluid Dynamics Videos Home (web)

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