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Lewis number (Le) is a dimensionless number defined as the ratio of thermal diffusivity to mass diffusivity. It is used to characterize fluid flows where there is simultaneous heat and mass transfer by convection.
It is defined as:
where \alpha is the thermal diffusivity and D is the mass diffusivity.
The Lewis number can also be expressed in terms of the Prandtl number and the Schmidt number :
It is named after Warren K. Lewis (1882–1975),^{[1]}^{[2]} who was the first head of the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT. Some workers in the field of combustion assume (incorrectly) that the Lewis number was named for Bernard Lewis (1899–1993), who for many years was a major figure in the field of combustion research.
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