In fluid mechanics, the Reynolds number (Re) is a dimensionless quantity that is used to help predict similar flow patterns in different fluid flow situations. The Reynolds number is defined as the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces and consequently quantifies the relative importance of these two types of forces for given flow conditions. Reynolds number frequently arise when performing scaling of fluid dynamics problems, and as such can be used to determine dynamic similitude between two different cases of fluid flow. They are also used to characterize different flow regimes within a similar fluid, such as laminar or turbulent flow.
The Reynolds number can be defined for several different situations where a fluid is in relative motion to a surface. These definitions generally include the fluid properties of density and viscosity, plus a velocity and a characteristic length or characteristic dimension.
|Re||Reynolds number (dimensionless)|
|u||mean velocity of the object relative to the fluid (m/s)|
|L||characteristic linear dimension (m)|
|ν||kinematic viscosity (m2/s)|