Osborne Reynolds’ developments of the concepts of Reynolds averaging, turbulence stresses, and equations for mean kinetic energy and turbulence energy are viewed in the light of one-hundred years of subsequent flow research. Attempts to use Reynolds energy-balance method to calculate the lower critical Reynolds number for pipe and channel flows is reviewed. The modern use of turbulence-energy methods for boundary layer transition modelling is discussed, and a current European Working Group effort to evaluate and develop such methods is described. The possibility of applying these methods to calculate transition in pipe, channel and sink flows is demonstrated using a one-equation, q-L, turbulence model. Recent work using the equation for the kinetic energy of mean motion to gain understanding of loss production mechanisms in three-dimensional turbulent flows is also discussed.

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