When the American Society of Mechanical Engineers was founded in 1880, the subject of fluids engineering was fractured and awkward. The existing theories were primarily for inviscid fluids and were rarely realistic. Engineers rejected these results and relied entirely upon a variety of experiments, most of which were simply reported in pounds, feet, and seconds. There were no correlating principles.
In the early 1900s, workers such as Prandtl, Rayleigh, and Reynolds combined theory and experiment into a single discipline, fluid mechanics. In the ensuing century, mechanical engineers have developed the practical and design aspects of fluid flow into a very successful discipline.
For its first 50 years, all ASME research papers were published in a single inclusive publication, the ASME Transactions. There were a dozen divisions, but only one journal, although conferences allowed for paper groupings. It was human nature, still active today, for ASME divisions to request their own specialized journals; this practice remains common to this day. There are currently 24 different journals published by ASME. In 1926, ASME fluids engineers formed the Hydraulics Division, but still had no specialized journal. The first non-Transactions periodical was the Journal of Applied Mechanics, which began in 1933. Although primarily devoted to theory, the early JAM published some practical fluids engineering papers, such as flow measurement, duct flow, fluid transients, pumps and turbines. Many such papers, of course, also appeared in the Transactions.
In 1959, the science-oriented divisions began two new publications, the Journal of Basic Engineering, which carried fluids papers, and the Journal of Heat Transfer. Research in fluid dynamics had expanded beyond traditional hydraulics, and in 1963 the Society changed the old Hydraulics name to the Fluids Engineering Division. Workers such as Robert Dean, Stephen Kline, and George Wislicenus urged the formation of a specialized journal. Finally, in 1973, the Society authorized a new publication, the Journal of Fluids Engineering, with Robert Dean as Technical Editor. The first issue was published in March 1973.
The choice of Bob Dean as first editor was inspired. He had leadership, wide-ranging knowledge of fluids engineering, and great organizational ability. He assembled an outstanding board of Associate Editors and a rigorous review process. He demanded conciseness and relevance in all submitted papers. His Editorial Assistant, Marguerite Blaney, began a detailed log of all papers and set up an efficient system for the entire review process. A good editorial assistant is crucial to handling the hundreds of papers received each year. The new journal, under Bob’s leadership, quickly took hold and immediately became an important publication on engineering aspects of fluid flow.
Bob Dean was an experimentalist and fully aware that data are not correct to six significant figures. In 1975, he announced a requirement for uncertainty in experimental data that all authors must report in their papers. This was followed in 1986 by a policy [(1)], formulated by Associate Editors Patrick Roache and Urmila Ghia, for reporting uncertainty of numerical accuracy in computer solutions. These were probably the first such requirements in any engineering journal. The experimental uncertainty requirement has been updated [(2)], and an improved numerical accuracy statement has been recently published [(3)].
The emphasis of the JFE has changed with progress in fluids engineering research. The first issue, March 1973, was divided into five areas: Fluid Transients, Fluid Machinery, Fluid Mechanics, Fluidics, and Polyphase Flow. By 1981, Fluidics had vanished, to be replaced by Fluid Measurements, handled by Bob Dean himself. The journal has always published highly regarded Review Articles. By 1987, associate editors were added for Numerical Methods, and the term Polyphase was changed to the more euphonious Multiphase Flow. Presently there are four technical committees: Fluid Systems, Multiphase Flow, Fluid Mechanics, and the new Micro and Nano Flows. There are also two coordinating groups: Fluid Measurements and Computational Fluid Dynamics. The number of associate editors has doubled to an average of 20. In spite of a heavy workload, all ASME associate editors are dedicated volunteers. The success and high standards of the journal depend upon the work of these associate editors and their many anonymous reviewers.
After Bob Dean, the JFE had three editors with 10-year terms. Their names, with their Editorial Assistants, are: Frank White and Lillian Brown, Demetri Telionis and Pat White, Joseph Katz and Laurel Murphy. The present editor, M. J. Andrews, and his Editorial Assistant, Amber Grady-Fuller, took office in 2010. Since ASME papers are limited in length, originally six but presently nine pages, experimental data has often been included only as brief tables and graphs. In 1993, Professor Telionis established the JFE Data Bank, in which the complete data from a study can be stored, available to readers. The JFE was the first Transactions journal to be available online. Presently the entire paper submission, review, and publication process can be achieved online.
The JFE has grown from a quarterly, publishing 600 pages per year, then to bimonthly, and now to a monthly, with 1600 pages per year. The 1990s saw the growth of papers on micro-flows, followed more recently by nano-flows. Our new century has seen many CFD papers on large-eddy and detached-eddy results in addition to direct numerical simulation of turbulence. Although the JFE continues to primarily be an experimental journal, many recent papers report the results of Computational Fluid Dynamics studies.
The Journal of Fluids Engineering was an initial success and continues to become even better. It is one of the two most profitable Transactions journals. It is noted for its wide-ranging topics, such as flow in complex systems, multiphase flows, turbomachinery, validation of turbulence models, and micro-nano flows. The Journal continues to be a leading international publication in the field of engineering applications of fluid flow.