We review the direct numerical simulation (DNS) of turbulent flows. We stress that DNS is a research tool, and not a brute-force solution to the Navier-Stokes equations for engineering problems. The wide range of scales in turbulent flows requires that care be taken in their numerical solution. We discuss related numerical issues such as boundary conditions and spatial and temporal discretization. Significant insight into turbulence physics has been gained from DNS of certain idealized flows that cannot be easily attained in the laboratory. We discuss some examples. Further, we illustrate the complementary nature of experiments and computations in turbulence research. Examples are provided where DNS data has been used to evaluate measurement accuracy. Finally, we consider how DNS has impacted turbulence modeling and provided further insight into the structure of turbulent boundary layers.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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