A turbulator is a device that turns a laminar boundary layer into a turbulent boundary layer. Turbulent flow can be desired on parts of the surface of an aircraft wing (airfoil) or in industrial applications such as heat exchangers and the mixing of fluids. The term “turbulator” is applied to a variety of applications and is used as a derivative of the word turbulent. However, the word has no commonly accepted technical or scientific meaning. It has been approved as a trademark in the U.S. and other countries in conjunction with machine parts used within rotating drums, sterilizers, heat transfer ovens, mixing and pelletizing machines, and air destratification fans for horticultural and agricultural uses, among others.
In wind sensors (anemometers), the use of turbulators reduces inaccuracies in the measurement of wind speed caused by the unpredictable switching between laminar flow and turbulent flow. Therefore the calibration of the wind sensor can be accomplished more accurately. Since wind direction can be calculated from a number of wind speed measurements, the measurement of the wind direction is also improved.
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- Maughmer, Mark D.; Swan, Timothy S.; Willits, Steven M. (July 2002). "Design and Testing of a Winglet Airfoil for Low-Speed Aircraft" (PDF). Journal of Aircraft. 39 (4): 654–661. doi:10.2514/2.2978.
- UK Patent GB2542354 Wind Sensor Housing. Inventor: Robin Strachan, Proprietor: FT Technologies Ltd. https://www.ipo.gov.uk/p-find-publication-getPDF.pdf?PatentNo=GB2542354&DocType=B&JournalNumber=6771