Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, is when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers.
In fluid dynamics, laminar flow is a flow regime characterized by high momentum diffusion, low momentum convection, and pressure and velocity independence from time. It is the opposite of Turbulent Flow.
Why the name Laminar?
As an aviation enthusiast and pilot, I wanted to use a familiar engineering term that could describe the quality or characteristics of an IT consulting firm that my organization could identify and emulate.
Laminar Flow is a term used to describe the flow between two viscous fluids such as water, or in my example, air. The concept was introduced in the 1930’s during the transition from Bi-Plane technology to a mono plane aircraft. In the simplest of terms, air flowing over the wing creates a boundary layer. This is a very thin layer above the wing surface, and if you can keep this air, and the air above it smooth; you gain efficiencies in flight such as top speed and range of an aircraft.
It wasn’t until WWII that the laminar design found its way into mass production. Ironically, the first aircraft to actually have laminar flow wings was the Consolidated B-24 Liberator; but, it wasn’t built specifically with the laminar technology in mind. As it happened, the discovery was a positive accident. The plane was designed in San Diego, California and was mass produced in 1943 by the Ford Motor Company.
The first plane to be intentionally designed to have the Laminar Flow wing was the North American P-51 Mustang built in 1940 as a request from the British Purchasing Commission. The plane was initially designed as a low Altitude tactical reconnaissance fighter bomber. Initial shipments of the airplane came 120 days later. The airplane performance was lacking until the British mated the airplane with a Rolls Royce Merlin 60 Series with a 2 stage Super Charger. This transformation dramatically changed the performance of the plane into a high altitude long range fighter that could escort bombers all the way to Germany and back. To some, the P-51 represented the pinnacle in American piston driven fighters of WWII. With the proper design, and mass production abilities of America, it helped to secure the air war against Germany and Japan during WWII.
“A suggestion made by the RAF, that North America switch the P-51's power plant from its original Allison engine to the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, may have been one of the most significant events in WWII aviation, as it transformed the P-51 into what many consider to be the best American fighter of the war.”
At Laminar Consulting, the laminar flow principle is alive and well, as we strive to gain efficiencies for our clients ultimately operating at top speed and providing a wide range of expertise and services. At Laminar, our objective for our clients is to realize and leverage those same traits that made the Laminar Flow design a success…