# Publications

## Navier-Stokes Equations Do Not Describe the Smallest Scales of Turbulence in Gases

In turbulent flows, kinetic energy is transferred from the largest scales to progressively smaller scales, until it is ultimately converted into heat. The Navier-Stokes equations are almost universally used to study this process. Here, by comparing with molecular-gas-dynamics simulations, we show that the Navier-Stokes equations do not describe turbulent gas flows in the dissipation range because they neglect thermal fluctuations. We investigate decaying turbulence produced by the Taylor-Green vortex and find that in the dissipation range the molecular-gas-dynamics spectra grow quadratically with wave number due to thermal fluctuations, in agreement with previous predictions, while the Navier-Stokes spectra decay exponentially. Furthermore, the transition to quadratic growth occurs at a length scale much larger than the gas molecular mean free path, namely in a regime that the Navier-Stokes equations are widely believed to describe. In fact, our results suggest that the Navier-Stokes equations are not guaranteed to describe the smallest scales of gas turbulence for any positive Knudsen number.