Tue September 15th 2009
HR Z109
Journal Club On sound generated aerodynamically by M. J. Lighthill
Leen van Wijngaarden


Sir James Lighthill (1924-1998) was the greatest fluid dynamicist in the second half of the last century. One of his most influential contributions to fluid mechanics (1592 citations) is this paper, in which he shows how to calculate the intensity of the sound produced by turbulent flows. He had in particular in mind the sound of jet engines as they started to be used for airplane propulsion in the fifties of the last century. Nobody knew how to estimate the sound of these engines until Lighthill showed it.

This paper marked the birth of a new subject: Aeroacoustics. It is a beautiful paper explaining everything in great detail. I will try to highlight the essential parts, mainly of part 1, but I can not hope to compete with Sir James himself in explanatory power. So my advice is: read part 1. Thereby think about this: the author was only 28 years old when he wrote it, an age when most of us are struggling with our theses!

Part 1, Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 211 ,1952, 564-587.
Part 2, Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 222, 1954 , 1-32.
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The 10th Complex Motion in Fluids 2021
Max Planck Gesellschaft
Centre for Scientific Computing