NavierStokes equations
Overview
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...
, the Navier–Stokes equations, named after ClaudeLouis Navier
ClaudeLouis Navier
ClaudeLouis Navier born Claude Louis Marie Henri Navier , was a French engineer and physicist who specialized in mechanics.The Navier–Stokes equations are named after him and George Gabriel Stokes....
and George Gabriel Stokes, describe the motion of fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....
substances. These equations arise from applying Newton's second law to fluid motion
Fluid dynamics
In physics, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that deals with fluid flow—the natural science of fluids in motion. It has several subdisciplines itself, including aerodynamics and hydrodynamics...
, together with the assumption that the fluid stress
Stress (physics)
In continuum mechanics, stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. Quantitatively, it is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. These internal forces are a reaction to external forces applied on the body...
is the sum of a diffusing
Diffusion
Molecular diffusion, often called simply diffusion, is the thermal motion of all particles at temperatures above absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size of the particles...
viscous
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...
term (proportional to the gradient of velocity), plus a pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure. Definition :...
term.
The equations are useful because they describe the physics of many things of academic and economic interest.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
In physics
, the Navier–Stokes equations, named after ClaudeLouis Navier
and George Gabriel Stokes, describe the motion of fluid
substances. These equations arise from applying Newton's second law to fluid motion
, together with the assumption that the fluid stress
is the sum of a diffusing
viscous
term (proportional to the gradient of velocity), plus a pressure
term.
The equations are useful because they describe the physics of many things of academic and economic interest. They may be used to model the weather
, ocean current
s, water flow in a pipe
and air flow around a wing
. The Navier–Stokes equations in their full and simplified forms help with the design of aircraft and cars, the study of blood flow, the design of power stations, the analysis of pollution, and many other things. Coupled with Maxwell's equations
they can be used to model and study magnetohydrodynamics
.
The Navier–Stokes equations are also of great interest in a purely mathematical sense. Somewhat surprisingly, given their wide range of practical uses, mathematicians have not yet proven that in three dimensions solutions always exist (existence
), or that if they do exist, then they do not contain any singularity
(smoothness). These are called the Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problems. The Clay Mathematics Institute
has called this one of the seven most important open problems in mathematics
and has offered a US$1,000,000 prize for a solution or a counterexample.
The Navier–Stokes equations dictate not position but rather velocity
. A solution of the Navier–Stokes equations is called a velocity field or flow field, which is a description of the velocity of the fluid at a given point in space and time. Once the velocity field is solved for, other quantities of interest (such as flow rate or drag force) may be found. This is different from what one normally sees in classical mechanics
, where solutions are typically trajectories of position of a particle or deflection of a continuum
. Studying velocity instead of position makes more sense for a fluid; however for visualization purposes one can compute various trajectories.
that the equations model.
The nonlinearity is due to convective acceleration, which is an acceleration associated with the change in velocity over position. Hence, any convective flow, whether turbulent or not, will involve nonlinearity. An example of convective but laminar
(nonturbulent) flow would be the passage of a viscous fluid (for example, oil) through a small converging nozzle
. Such flows, whether exactly solvable or not, can often be thoroughly studied and understood.
is the time dependent chaotic
behavior seen in many fluid flows. It is generally believed that it is due to the inertia
of the fluid as a whole: the culmination of time dependent and convective acceleration; hence flows where inertial effects are small tend to be laminar (the Reynolds number quantifies how much the flow is affected by inertia). It is believed, though not known with certainty, that the Navier–Stokes equations describe turbulence properly.
The numerical solution of the Navier–Stokes equations for turbulent flow is extremely difficult, and due to the significantly different mixinglength scales that are involved in turbulent flow, the stable solution of this requires such a fine mesh resolution that the computational time becomes significantly infeasible for calculation (see Direct numerical simulation
). Attempts to solve turbulent flow using a laminar solver typically result in a timeunsteady solution, which fails to converge appropriately. To counter this, timeaveraged equations such as the Reynoldsaveraged Navier–Stokes equations (RANS), supplemented with turbulence models, are used in practical computational fluid dynamics
(CFD) applications when modeling turbulent flows. Some models include the SpalartAllmaras, kω (komega), kε (kepsilon), and SST models which add a variety of additional equations to bring closure to the RANS equations. Another technique for solving numerically the Navier–Stokes equation is the Large eddy simulation
(LES). This approach is computationally more expensive than the RANS method (in time and computer memory), but produces better results since the larger turbulent scales are explicitly resolved.
The Navier–Stokes equations assume that the fluid being studied is a continuum
(it is infinitely divisible and not composed of particles such as atoms or molecules), and is not moving at relativistic velocities. At very small scales or under extreme conditions, real fluids made out of discrete molecules will produce results different from the continuous fluids modeled by the Navier–Stokes equations. Depending on the Knudsen number
of the problem, statistical mechanics
or possibly even molecular dynamics
may be a more appropriate approach.
Another limitation is simply the complicated nature of the equations. Time tested formulations exist for common fluid families, but the application of the Navier–Stokes equations to less common families tends to result in very complicated formulations which are an area of current research. For this reason, these equations are usually written for Newtonian fluid
s. Studying such fluids is "simple" because the viscosity model ends up being linear
; truly general models for the flow of other kinds of fluids (such as blood) do not, as of 2011, exist.
, the general form of the equations of fluid motion is:
where is the flow velocity, is the fluid density, p is the pressure, is the (deviatoric) stress tensor
, and represents body force
s (per unit volume) acting on the fluid and is the del
operator. This is a statement of the conservation of momentum in a fluid and it is an application of Newton's second law to a continuum
; in fact this equation is applicable to any nonrelativistic continuum and is known as the Cauchy momentum equation.
This equation is often written using the material derivative Dv/Dt, making it more apparent that this is a statement of Newton's second law:
The left side of the equation describes acceleration, and may be composed of time dependent or convective effects (also the effects of noninertial coordinates if present). The right side of the equation is in effect a summation of body forces (such as gravity) and divergence of stress
(pressure and shear stress).
which may be interpreted either as or as with the tensor derivative of the velocity vector Both interpretations give the same result, independent of the coordinate system — provided is interpreted as the covariant derivative
.
where the advection operator
is used. Usually this representation is preferred as it is simpler than the one in terms of the tensor derivative
The form has use in irrotational flow, where the curl of the velocity (called vorticity) is equal to zero.
Regardless of what kind of fluid is being dealt with, convective acceleration is a nonlinear effect. Convective acceleration is present in most flows (exceptions include onedimensional incompressible flow), but its dynamic effect is disregarded in creeping flow (also called Stokes flow) .
in the fluid is represented by the and terms; these are gradients of surface forces, analogous to stresses in a solid. is called the pressure gradient and arises from the isotropic part of the stress tensor
. This part is given by normal stresses that turn up in almost all situations, dynamic or not. The anisotropic part of the stress tensor gives rise to , which conventionally describes viscous forces; for incompressible flow, this is only a shear effect. Thus, is the deviatoric stress tensor, and the stress tensor is equal to:
where is the 3×3 identity matrix
. Interestingly, only the gradient of pressure matters, not the pressure itself. The effect of the pressure gradient is that fluid flows from high pressure to low pressure.
The stress terms p and are yet unknown, so the general form of the equations of motion is not usable to solve problems. Besides the equations of motion—Newton's second law—a force model is needed relating the stresses to the fluid motion. For this reason, assumptions on the specific behavior of a fluid are made (based on natural observations) and applied in order to specify the stresses in terms of the other flow variables, such as velocity and density.
The Navier–Stokes equations result from the following assumptions on the deviatoric stress tensor :
As a result, in the Navier–Stokes equations the deviatoric stress tensor has the following form:
with the quantity between brackets the nonisotropic part of the rateofstrain tensor The dynamic viscosity μ does not need to be constant – in general it depends on conditions like temperature and pressure, and in turbulence
modelling the concept of eddy viscosity is used to approximate the average deviatoric stress.
The pressure p is modelled by use of an equation of state
. For the special case of an incompressible flow, the pressure constrains the flow in such a way that the volume of fluid elements is constant: isochoric flow
resulting in a solenoidal velocity field with
s. Typically these consist of only gravity forces, but may include other types(such as electromagnetic forces). In a noninertial coordinate system, other "forces" such as that associated with rotating coordinates
may be inserted.
Often, these forces may be represented as the gradient of some scalar quantity , with . Gravity in the z direction, for example, is the gradient of . Since pressure shows up only as a gradient, this implies that solving a problem without any such body force can be mended to include the body force by using a modified pressure . The pressure and force terms on the right hand side of the Navier–Stokes equation become
, capillary surface
, etc.), the conservation of mass, the conservation of energy, and/or an equation of state
.
Regardless of the flow assumptions, a statement of the conservation of mass
is generally necessary. This is achieved through the mass continuity equation
, given in its most general form as:
or, using the substantive derivative:
of a Newtonian fluid
. The assumption of incompressibility rules out the possibility of sound
or shock wave
s to occur; so this simplification is invalid if these phenomena are important. The incompressible flow assumption typically holds well even when dealing with a "compressible" fluid — such as air at room temperature — at low Mach number
s (even when flowing up to about Mach 0.3). Taking the incompressible flow assumption into account and assuming constant viscosity, the Navier–Stokes equations will read, in vector form:
Here f represents "other" body force
s (forces per unit volume), such as gravity or centrifugal force
. The shear stress
term becomes the useful quantity ( is the vector Laplacian
) when the fluid is assumed incompressible, homogeneous and Newtonian, where is the (constant) dynamic viscosity.
It's well worth observing the meaning of each term (compare to the Cauchy momentum equation):
Note that only the convective terms are nonlinear for incompressible Newtonian flow. The convective acceleration is an acceleration caused by a (possibly steady) change in velocity over position, for example the speeding up of fluid entering a converging nozzle
. Though individual fluid particles are being accelerated and thus are under unsteady motion, the flow field (a velocity distribution) will not necessarily be time dependent.
Another important observation is that the viscosity is represented by the vector Laplacian
of the velocity field (interpreted here as the difference between the velocity at a point and the mean velocity in a small volume around). This implies that Newtonian viscosity is diffusion of momentum, this works in much the same way as the diffusion
of heat seen in the heat equation
(which also involves the Laplacian).
If temperature effects are also neglected, the only "other" equation (apart from initial/boundary conditions) needed is the mass continuity equation. Under the incompressible assumption, density is a constant and it follows that the equation will simplify to:
This is more specifically a statement of the conservation of volume (see divergence
).
These equations are commonly used in 3 coordinates systems: Cartesian
, cylindrical
, and spherical
. While the Cartesian equations seem to follow directly from the vector equation above, the vector form of the Navier–Stokes equation involves some tensor calculus which means that writing it in other coordinate systems is not as simple as doing so for scalar equations (such as the heat equation).
Note that gravity has been accounted for as a body force, and the values of will depend on the orientation of gravity with respect to the chosen set of coordinates.
The continuity equation reads:
When the flow is at steadystate, does not change with respect to time. The continuity equation is reduced to:
When the flow is incompressible, is constant and does not change with respect to space. The continuity equation is reduced to:
The velocity components (the dependent variables to be solved for) are typically named u, v, w. This system of four equations comprises the most commonly used and studied form. Though comparatively more compact than other representations, this is still a nonlinear system of partial differential equations for which solutions are difficult to obtain.
The gravity components will generally not be constants, however for most applications either the coordinates are chosen so that the gravity components are constant or else it is assumed that gravity is counteracted by a pressure field (for example, flow in horizontal pipe is treated normally without gravity and without a vertical pressure gradient). The continuity equation is:
This cylindrical representation of the incompressible Navier–Stokes equations is the second most commonly seen (the first being Cartesian above). Cylindrical coordinates are chosen to take advantage of symmetry, so that a velocity component can disappear. A very common case is axisymmetric flow with the assumption of no tangential velocity (), and the remaining quantities are independent of :
, 0 ≤ ≤ ):
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...
, the Navier–Stokes equations, named after ClaudeLouis Navier
ClaudeLouis Navier
ClaudeLouis Navier born Claude Louis Marie Henri Navier , was a French engineer and physicist who specialized in mechanics.The Navier–Stokes equations are named after him and George Gabriel Stokes....
and George Gabriel Stokes, describe the motion of fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....
substances. These equations arise from applying Newton's second law to fluid motion
Fluid dynamics
In physics, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that deals with fluid flow—the natural science of fluids in motion. It has several subdisciplines itself, including aerodynamics and hydrodynamics...
, together with the assumption that the fluid stress
Stress (physics)
In continuum mechanics, stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. Quantitatively, it is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. These internal forces are a reaction to external forces applied on the body...
is the sum of a diffusing
Diffusion
Molecular diffusion, often called simply diffusion, is the thermal motion of all particles at temperatures above absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size of the particles...
viscous
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...
term (proportional to the gradient of velocity), plus a pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure. Definition :...
term.
The equations are useful because they describe the physics of many things of academic and economic interest. They may be used to model the weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to daytoday temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...
, ocean current
Ocean current
An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of ocean water generated by the forces acting upon this mean flow, such as breaking waves, wind, Coriolis effect, cabbeling, temperature and salinity differences and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun...
s, water flow in a pipe
Flow conditioning
Flow conditioning ensures that the “real world” environment closely resembles the “laboratory” environment for proper performance of inferential flowmeters like orifice, turbine, coriolis, ultrasonic etc. Types of Flow :...
and air flow around a wing
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in crosssection....
. The Navier–Stokes equations in their full and simplified forms help with the design of aircraft and cars, the study of blood flow, the design of power stations, the analysis of pollution, and many other things. Coupled with Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations are a set of partial differential equations that, together with the Lorentz force law, form the foundation of classical electrodynamics, classical optics, and electric circuits. These fields in turn underlie modern electrical and communications technologies.Maxwell's equations...
they can be used to model and study magnetohydrodynamics
Magnetohydrodynamics
Magnetohydrodynamics is an academic discipline which studies the dynamics of electrically conducting fluids. Examples of such fluids include plasmas, liquid metals, and salt water or electrolytes...
.
The Navier–Stokes equations are also of great interest in a purely mathematical sense. Somewhat surprisingly, given their wide range of practical uses, mathematicians have not yet proven that in three dimensions solutions always exist (existence
Existence theorem
In mathematics, an existence theorem is a theorem with a statement beginning 'there exist ..', or more generally 'for all x, y, ... there exist ...'. That is, in more formal terms of symbolic logic, it is a theorem with a statement involving the existential quantifier. Many such theorems will not...
), or that if they do exist, then they do not contain any singularity
Mathematical singularity
In mathematics, a singularity is in general a point at which a given mathematical object is not defined, or a point of an exceptional set where it fails to be wellbehaved in some particular way, such as differentiability...
(smoothness). These are called the Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problems. The Clay Mathematics Institute
Clay Mathematics Institute
The Clay Mathematics Institute is a private, nonprofit foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. It gives out various awards and sponsorships to promising mathematicians. The institute was founded in 1998...
has called this one of the seven most important open problems in mathematics
Millennium Prize Problems
The Millennium Prize Problems are seven problems in mathematics that were stated by the Clay Mathematics Institute in 2000. As of September 2011, six of the problems remain unsolved. A correct solution to any of the problems results in a US$1,000,000 prize being awarded by the institute...
and has offered a US$1,000,000 prize for a solution or a counterexample.
The Navier–Stokes equations dictate not position but rather velocity
Velocity
In physics, velocity is speed in a given direction. Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both the speed and direction of the object's motion. To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed and motion in a constant direction. Constant ...
. A solution of the Navier–Stokes equations is called a velocity field or flow field, which is a description of the velocity of the fluid at a given point in space and time. Once the velocity field is solved for, other quantities of interest (such as flow rate or drag force) may be found. This is different from what one normally sees in classical mechanics
Classical mechanics
In physics, classical mechanics is one of the two major subfields of mechanics, which is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces...
, where solutions are typically trajectories of position of a particle or deflection of a continuum
Continuum (theory)
Continuum theories or models explain variation as involving a gradual quantitative transition without abrupt changes or discontinuities. It can be contrasted with 'categorical' models which propose qualitatively different states.In physics:...
. Studying velocity instead of position makes more sense for a fluid; however for visualization purposes one can compute various trajectories.
Nonlinearity
The Navier–Stokes equations are nonlinear partial differential equations in almost every real situation. In some cases, such as onedimensional flow and Stokes flow (or creeping flow), the equations can be simplified to linear equations. The nonlinearity makes most problems difficult or impossible to solve and is the main contributor to the turbulenceTurbulence
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...
that the equations model.
The nonlinearity is due to convective acceleration, which is an acceleration associated with the change in velocity over position. Hence, any convective flow, whether turbulent or not, will involve nonlinearity. An example of convective but laminar
Laminar flow
Laminar flow, sometimes known as streamline flow, occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. At low velocities the fluid tends to flow without lateral mixing, and adjacent layers slide past one another like playing cards. There are no cross currents...
(nonturbulent) flow would be the passage of a viscous fluid (for example, oil) through a small converging nozzle
Nozzle
A nozzle is a device designed to control the direction or characteristics of a fluid flow as it exits an enclosed chamber or pipe via an orifice....
. Such flows, whether exactly solvable or not, can often be thoroughly studied and understood.
Turbulence
TurbulenceTurbulence
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...
is the time dependent chaotic
Chaos theory
Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the...
behavior seen in many fluid flows. It is generally believed that it is due to the inertia
Inertia
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. It is proportional to an object's mass. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles of classical physics which are used to...
of the fluid as a whole: the culmination of time dependent and convective acceleration; hence flows where inertial effects are small tend to be laminar (the Reynolds number quantifies how much the flow is affected by inertia). It is believed, though not known with certainty, that the Navier–Stokes equations describe turbulence properly.
The numerical solution of the Navier–Stokes equations for turbulent flow is extremely difficult, and due to the significantly different mixinglength scales that are involved in turbulent flow, the stable solution of this requires such a fine mesh resolution that the computational time becomes significantly infeasible for calculation (see Direct numerical simulation
Direct numerical simulation
A direct numerical simulation is a simulation in computational fluid dynamics in which the NavierStokes equations are numerically solved without any turbulence model...
). Attempts to solve turbulent flow using a laminar solver typically result in a timeunsteady solution, which fails to converge appropriately. To counter this, timeaveraged equations such as the Reynoldsaveraged Navier–Stokes equations (RANS), supplemented with turbulence models, are used in practical computational fluid dynamics
Computational fluid dynamics
Computational fluid dynamics, usually abbreviated as CFD, is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. Computers are used to perform the calculations required to simulate the interaction of liquids and gases with...
(CFD) applications when modeling turbulent flows. Some models include the SpalartAllmaras, kω (komega), kε (kepsilon), and SST models which add a variety of additional equations to bring closure to the RANS equations. Another technique for solving numerically the Navier–Stokes equation is the Large eddy simulation
Large eddy simulation
Large eddy simulation is a mathematical model for turbulence used in computational fluid dynamics. It was initially proposed in 1963 by Joseph Smagorinsky to simulate atmospheric air currents, and many of the issues unique to LES were first explored by Deardorff...
(LES). This approach is computationally more expensive than the RANS method (in time and computer memory), but produces better results since the larger turbulent scales are explicitly resolved.
Applicability
Together with supplemental equations (for example, conservation of mass) and well formulated boundary conditions, the Navier–Stokes equations seem to model fluid motion accurately; even turbulent flows seem (on average) to agree with real world observations.The Navier–Stokes equations assume that the fluid being studied is a continuum
Continuum mechanics
Continuum mechanics is a branch of mechanics that deals with the analysis of the kinematics and the mechanical behavior of materials modelled as a continuous mass rather than as discrete particles...
(it is infinitely divisible and not composed of particles such as atoms or molecules), and is not moving at relativistic velocities. At very small scales or under extreme conditions, real fluids made out of discrete molecules will produce results different from the continuous fluids modeled by the Navier–Stokes equations. Depending on the Knudsen number
Knudsen number
The Knudsen number is a dimensionless number defined as the ratio of the molecular mean free path length to a representative physical length scale. This length scale could be, for example, the radius of a body in a fluid...
of the problem, statistical mechanics
Statistical mechanics
Statistical mechanics or statistical thermodynamicsThe terms statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics are used interchangeably...
or possibly even molecular dynamics
Molecular dynamics
Molecular dynamics is a computer simulation of physical movements of atoms and molecules. The atoms and molecules are allowed to interact for a period of time, giving a view of the motion of the atoms...
may be a more appropriate approach.
Another limitation is simply the complicated nature of the equations. Time tested formulations exist for common fluid families, but the application of the Navier–Stokes equations to less common families tends to result in very complicated formulations which are an area of current research. For this reason, these equations are usually written for Newtonian fluid
Newtonian fluid
A Newtonian fluid is a fluid whose stress versus strain rate curve is linear and passes through the origin. The constant of proportionality is known as the viscosity.Definition:...
s. Studying such fluids is "simple" because the viscosity model ends up being linear
Linear
In mathematics, a linear map or function f is a function which satisfies the following two properties:* Additivity : f = f + f...
; truly general models for the flow of other kinds of fluids (such as blood) do not, as of 2011, exist.
Derivation and description
The derivation of the Navier–Stokes equations begins with an application of Newton's second law: conservation of momentum (often alongside mass and energy conservation) being written for an arbitrary portion of the fluid. In an inertial frame of referenceInertial frame of reference
In physics, an inertial frame of reference is a frame of reference that describes time homogeneously and space homogeneously, isotropically, and in a timeindependent manner.All inertial frames are in a state of constant, rectilinear motion with respect to one another; they are not...
, the general form of the equations of fluid motion is:
where is the flow velocity, is the fluid density, p is the pressure, is the (deviatoric) stress tensor
Tensor field
In mathematics, physics and engineering, a tensor field assigns a tensor to each point of a mathematical space . Tensor fields are used in differential geometry, algebraic geometry, general relativity, in the analysis of stress and strain in materials, and in numerous applications in the physical...
, and represents body force
Body force
A body force is a force that acts throughout the volume of a body, in contrast to contact forces.Gravity and electromagnetic forces are examples of body forces. Centrifugal and Coriolis forces can also be viewed as body forces.This can be put into contrast to the classical definition of surface...
s (per unit volume) acting on the fluid and is the del
Del
In vector calculus, del is a vector differential operator, usually represented by the nabla symbol \nabla . When applied to a function defined on a onedimensional domain, it denotes its standard derivative as defined in calculus...
operator. This is a statement of the conservation of momentum in a fluid and it is an application of Newton's second law to a continuum
Continuum mechanics
Continuum mechanics is a branch of mechanics that deals with the analysis of the kinematics and the mechanical behavior of materials modelled as a continuous mass rather than as discrete particles...
; in fact this equation is applicable to any nonrelativistic continuum and is known as the Cauchy momentum equation.
This equation is often written using the material derivative Dv/Dt, making it more apparent that this is a statement of Newton's second law:
The left side of the equation describes acceleration, and may be composed of time dependent or convective effects (also the effects of noninertial coordinates if present). The right side of the equation is in effect a summation of body forces (such as gravity) and divergence of stress
Stress (physics)
In continuum mechanics, stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. Quantitatively, it is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. These internal forces are a reaction to external forces applied on the body...
(pressure and shear stress).
Convective acceleration
A very significant feature of the Navier–Stokes equations is the presence of convective acceleration: the effect of time independent acceleration of a fluid with respect to space. While individual fluid particles are indeed experiencing time dependent acceleration, the convective acceleration of the flow field is a spatial effect, one example being fluid speeding up in a nozzle. Convective acceleration is represented by the nonlinear quantity:which may be interpreted either as or as with the tensor derivative of the velocity vector Both interpretations give the same result, independent of the coordinate system — provided is interpreted as the covariant derivative
Covariant derivative
In mathematics, the covariant derivative is a way of specifying a derivative along tangent vectors of a manifold. Alternatively, the covariant derivative is a way of introducing and working with a connection on a manifold by means of a differential operator, to be contrasted with the approach given...
.
Interpretation as (v·∇)v
The convection term is often written aswhere the advection operator
Advection
Advection, in chemistry, engineering and earth sciences, is a transport mechanism of a substance, or a conserved property, by a fluid, due to the fluid's bulk motion in a particular direction. An example of advection is the transport of pollutants or silt in a river. The motion of the water carries...
is used. Usually this representation is preferred as it is simpler than the one in terms of the tensor derivative
Interpretation as v·(∇v)
Here is the tensor derivative of the velocity vector, equal in Cartesian coordinates to the component by component gradient. The convection term may, by a vector calculus identity, be expressed without a tensor derivative:The form has use in irrotational flow, where the curl of the velocity (called vorticity) is equal to zero.
Regardless of what kind of fluid is being dealt with, convective acceleration is a nonlinear effect. Convective acceleration is present in most flows (exceptions include onedimensional incompressible flow), but its dynamic effect is disregarded in creeping flow (also called Stokes flow) .
Stresses
The effect of stressStress (physics)
In continuum mechanics, stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. Quantitatively, it is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. These internal forces are a reaction to external forces applied on the body...
in the fluid is represented by the and terms; these are gradients of surface forces, analogous to stresses in a solid. is called the pressure gradient and arises from the isotropic part of the stress tensor
Tensor
Tensors are geometric objects that describe linear relations between vectors, scalars, and other tensors. Elementary examples include the dot product, the cross product, and linear maps. Vectors and scalars themselves are also tensors. A tensor can be represented as a multidimensional array of...
. This part is given by normal stresses that turn up in almost all situations, dynamic or not. The anisotropic part of the stress tensor gives rise to , which conventionally describes viscous forces; for incompressible flow, this is only a shear effect. Thus, is the deviatoric stress tensor, and the stress tensor is equal to:
where is the 3×3 identity matrix
Identity matrix
In linear algebra, the identity matrix or unit matrix of size n is the n×n square matrix with ones on the main diagonal and zeros elsewhere. It is denoted by In, or simply by I if the size is immaterial or can be trivially determined by the context...
. Interestingly, only the gradient of pressure matters, not the pressure itself. The effect of the pressure gradient is that fluid flows from high pressure to low pressure.
The stress terms p and are yet unknown, so the general form of the equations of motion is not usable to solve problems. Besides the equations of motion—Newton's second law—a force model is needed relating the stresses to the fluid motion. For this reason, assumptions on the specific behavior of a fluid are made (based on natural observations) and applied in order to specify the stresses in terms of the other flow variables, such as velocity and density.
The Navier–Stokes equations result from the following assumptions on the deviatoric stress tensor :
 the deviatoric stress vanishes for a fluid at rest, and – by Galilean invarianceGalilean invarianceGalilean invariance or Galilean relativity is a principle of relativity which states that the fundamental laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames...
– also does not depend directly on the flow velocity itself, but only on spatial derivatives of the flow velocity  in the Navier–Stokes equations, the deviatoric stress is expressed as the product of the tensor gradient of the flow velocity with a viscosity tensor , i.e. :
 the fluid is assumed to be isotropic, as valid for gases and simple liquids, and consequently is an isotropic tensor; furthermore, since the deviatoric stress tensor is symmetric, it turns out that it can be expressed in terms of two scalar dynamic viscosities μ and μ”: where is the rateofstrain tensor and is the rate of expansion of the flow
 the deviatoric stress tensor has zero traceTrace (linear algebra)In linear algebra, the trace of an nbyn square matrix A is defined to be the sum of the elements on the main diagonal of A, i.e.,...
, so for a threedimensional flow 2μ + 3μ” = 0
As a result, in the Navier–Stokes equations the deviatoric stress tensor has the following form:
with the quantity between brackets the nonisotropic part of the rateofstrain tensor The dynamic viscosity μ does not need to be constant – in general it depends on conditions like temperature and pressure, and in turbulence
Turbulence
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...
modelling the concept of eddy viscosity is used to approximate the average deviatoric stress.
The pressure p is modelled by use of an equation of state
Equation of state
In physics and thermodynamics, an equation of state is a relation between state variables. More specifically, an equation of state is a thermodynamic equation describing the state of matter under a given set of physical conditions...
. For the special case of an incompressible flow, the pressure constrains the flow in such a way that the volume of fluid elements is constant: isochoric flow
Isochoric process
An isochoric process, also called a constantvolume process, an isovolumetric process, or an isometric process, is a thermodynamic process during which the volume of the closed system undergoing such a process remains constant...
resulting in a solenoidal velocity field with
Other forces
The vector field represents body forceBody force
A body force is a force that acts throughout the volume of a body, in contrast to contact forces.Gravity and electromagnetic forces are examples of body forces. Centrifugal and Coriolis forces can also be viewed as body forces.This can be put into contrast to the classical definition of surface...
s. Typically these consist of only gravity forces, but may include other types(such as electromagnetic forces). In a noninertial coordinate system, other "forces" such as that associated with rotating coordinates
Fictitious force
A fictitious force, also called a pseudo force, d'Alembert force or inertial force, is an apparent force that acts on all masses in a noninertial frame of reference, such as a rotating reference frame....
may be inserted.
Often, these forces may be represented as the gradient of some scalar quantity , with . Gravity in the z direction, for example, is the gradient of . Since pressure shows up only as a gradient, this implies that solving a problem without any such body force can be mended to include the body force by using a modified pressure . The pressure and force terms on the right hand side of the Navier–Stokes equation become
Other equations
The Navier–Stokes equations are strictly a statement of the conservation of momentum. In order to fully describe fluid flow, more information is needed (how much depends on the assumptions made). This additional information may include boundary data (noslipNoslip condition
In fluid dynamics, the noslip condition for viscous fluids states that at a solid boundary, the fluid will have zero velocity relative to the boundary.The fluid velocity at all fluid–solid boundaries is equal to that of the solid boundary...
, capillary surface
Capillary surface
In fluid mechanics and mathematics, a capillary surface is a surface that represents the interface between two different fluids. As a consequence of being a surface, a capillary surface has no thickness in slight contrast with most real fluid interfaces....
, etc.), the conservation of mass, the conservation of energy, and/or an equation of state
Equation of state
In physics and thermodynamics, an equation of state is a relation between state variables. More specifically, an equation of state is a thermodynamic equation describing the state of matter under a given set of physical conditions...
.
Regardless of the flow assumptions, a statement of the conservation of mass
Conservation of mass
The law of conservation of mass, also known as the principle of mass/matter conservation, states that the mass of an isolated system will remain constant over time...
is generally necessary. This is achieved through the mass continuity equation
Continuity equation
A continuity equation in physics is a differential equation that describes the transport of a conserved quantity. Since mass, energy, momentum, electric charge and other natural quantities are conserved under their respective appropriate conditions, a variety of physical phenomena may be described...
, given in its most general form as:
or, using the substantive derivative:
Incompressible flow of Newtonian fluids
A simplification of the resulting flow equations is obtained when considering an incompressible flowIncompressible flow
In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow refers to flow in which the material density is constant within an infinitesimal volume that moves with the velocity of the fluid...
of a Newtonian fluid
Newtonian fluid
A Newtonian fluid is a fluid whose stress versus strain rate curve is linear and passes through the origin. The constant of proportionality is known as the viscosity.Definition:...
. The assumption of incompressibility rules out the possibility of sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.Propagation of...
or shock wave
Shock wave
A shock wave is a type of propagating disturbance. Like an ordinary wave, it carries energy and can propagate through a medium or in some cases in the absence of a material medium, through a field such as the electromagnetic field...
s to occur; so this simplification is invalid if these phenomena are important. The incompressible flow assumption typically holds well even when dealing with a "compressible" fluid — such as air at room temperature — at low Mach number
Mach number
Mach number is the speed of an object moving through air, or any other fluid substance, divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance for its particular physical conditions, including those of temperature and pressure...
s (even when flowing up to about Mach 0.3). Taking the incompressible flow assumption into account and assuming constant viscosity, the Navier–Stokes equations will read, in vector form:
Here f represents "other" body force
Body force
A body force is a force that acts throughout the volume of a body, in contrast to contact forces.Gravity and electromagnetic forces are examples of body forces. Centrifugal and Coriolis forces can also be viewed as body forces.This can be put into contrast to the classical definition of surface...
s (forces per unit volume), such as gravity or centrifugal force
Centrifugal force
Centrifugal force can generally be any force directed outward relative to some origin. More particularly, in classical mechanics, the centrifugal force is an outward force which arises when describing the motion of objects in a rotating reference frame...
. The shear stress
Shear stress
A shear stress, denoted \tau\, , is defined as the component of stress coplanar with a material cross section. Shear stress arises from the force vector component parallel to the cross section...
term becomes the useful quantity ( is the vector Laplacian
Vector Laplacian
In mathematics and physics, the vector Laplace operator, denoted by \scriptstyle \nabla^2, named after PierreSimon Laplace, is a differential operator defined over a vector field. The vector Laplacian is similar to the scalar Laplacian...
) when the fluid is assumed incompressible, homogeneous and Newtonian, where is the (constant) dynamic viscosity.
It's well worth observing the meaning of each term (compare to the Cauchy momentum equation):
Note that only the convective terms are nonlinear for incompressible Newtonian flow. The convective acceleration is an acceleration caused by a (possibly steady) change in velocity over position, for example the speeding up of fluid entering a converging nozzle
Nozzle
A nozzle is a device designed to control the direction or characteristics of a fluid flow as it exits an enclosed chamber or pipe via an orifice....
. Though individual fluid particles are being accelerated and thus are under unsteady motion, the flow field (a velocity distribution) will not necessarily be time dependent.
Another important observation is that the viscosity is represented by the vector Laplacian
Vector Laplacian
In mathematics and physics, the vector Laplace operator, denoted by \scriptstyle \nabla^2, named after PierreSimon Laplace, is a differential operator defined over a vector field. The vector Laplacian is similar to the scalar Laplacian...
of the velocity field (interpreted here as the difference between the velocity at a point and the mean velocity in a small volume around). This implies that Newtonian viscosity is diffusion of momentum, this works in much the same way as the diffusion
Diffusion
Molecular diffusion, often called simply diffusion, is the thermal motion of all particles at temperatures above absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size of the particles...
of heat seen in the heat equation
Heat equation
The heat equation is an important partial differential equation which describes the distribution of heat in a given region over time...
(which also involves the Laplacian).
If temperature effects are also neglected, the only "other" equation (apart from initial/boundary conditions) needed is the mass continuity equation. Under the incompressible assumption, density is a constant and it follows that the equation will simplify to:
This is more specifically a statement of the conservation of volume (see divergence
Divergence
In vector calculus, divergence is a vector operator that measures the magnitude of a vector field's source or sink at a given point, in terms of a signed scalar. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around...
).
These equations are commonly used in 3 coordinates systems: Cartesian
Cartesian coordinate system
A Cartesian coordinate system specifies each point uniquely in a plane by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances from the point to two fixed perpendicular directed lines, measured in the same unit of length...
, cylindrical
Cylindrical coordinate system
A cylindrical coordinate system is a threedimensional coordinate systemthat specifies point positions by the distance from a chosen reference axis, the direction from the axis relative to a chosen reference direction, and the distance from a chosen reference plane perpendicular to the axis...
, and spherical
Spherical coordinate system
In mathematics, a spherical coordinate system is a coordinate system for threedimensional space where the position of a point is specified by three numbers: the radial distance of that point from a fixed origin, its inclination angle measured from a fixed zenith direction, and the azimuth angle of...
. While the Cartesian equations seem to follow directly from the vector equation above, the vector form of the Navier–Stokes equation involves some tensor calculus which means that writing it in other coordinate systems is not as simple as doing so for scalar equations (such as the heat equation).
Cartesian coordinates
Writing the vector equation explicitly,Note that gravity has been accounted for as a body force, and the values of will depend on the orientation of gravity with respect to the chosen set of coordinates.
The continuity equation reads:
When the flow is at steadystate, does not change with respect to time. The continuity equation is reduced to:
When the flow is incompressible, is constant and does not change with respect to space. The continuity equation is reduced to:
The velocity components (the dependent variables to be solved for) are typically named u, v, w. This system of four equations comprises the most commonly used and studied form. Though comparatively more compact than other representations, this is still a nonlinear system of partial differential equations for which solutions are difficult to obtain.
Cylindrical coordinates
A change of variables on the Cartesian equations will yield the following momentum equations for r, , and z:The gravity components will generally not be constants, however for most applications either the coordinates are chosen so that the gravity components are constant or else it is assumed that gravity is counteracted by a pressure field (for example, flow in horizontal pipe is treated normally without gravity and without a vertical pressure gradient). The continuity equation is:
This cylindrical representation of the incompressible Navier–Stokes equations is the second most commonly seen (the first being Cartesian above). Cylindrical coordinates are chosen to take advantage of symmetry, so that a velocity component can disappear. A very common case is axisymmetric flow with the assumption of no tangential velocity (), and the remaining quantities are independent of :
Spherical coordinates
In spherical coordinates, the r, , and momentum equations are (note the convention used: is polar angle, or colatitudeColatitude
In spherical coordinates, colatitude is the complementary angle of the latitude, i.e. the difference between 90° and the latitude.Astronomical use:The colatitude is useful in astronomy because it refers to the zenith distance of the celestial poles...
, 0 ≤ ≤ ):



Mass continuity will read:
These equations could be (slightly) compacted by, for example, factoring from the viscous terms. However, doing so would undesirably alter the structure of the Laplacian and other quantities.
Stream function formulation
Taking the curl of the Navier–Stokes equation results in the elimination of pressure. This is especially easy to see if 2D Cartesian flow is assumed ( and no dependence of anything on z), where the equations reduce to:
Differentiating the first with respect to y, the second with respect to x and subtracting the resulting equations will eliminate pressure and any conservative forceConservative forceA conservative force is a force with the property that the work done in moving a particle between two points is independent of the path taken. Equivalently, if a particle travels in a closed loop, the net work done by a conservative force is zero.It is possible to define a numerical value of...
. Defining the stream functionStream functionThe stream function is defined for twodimensional flows of various kinds. The stream function can be used to plot streamlines, which represent the trajectories of particles in a steady flow. Streamlines are perpendicular to equipotential lines...
through
results in mass continuity being unconditionally satisfied (given the stream function is continuous), and then incompressible Newtonian 2D momentum and mass conservation degrade into one equation:
where is the (2D) biharmonic operator and is the kinematic viscosity, . We can also express this compactly using the Jacobian determinant:
This single equation together with appropriate boundary conditions describes 2D fluid flow, taking only kinematic viscosity as a parameter. Note that the equation for creeping flow results when the left side is assumed zero.
In axisymmetric flow another stream function formulation, called the Stokes stream functionStokes stream functionIn fluid dynamics, the Stokes stream function is used to describe the streamlines and flow velocity in a threedimensional incompressible flow with axisymmetry. A surface with a constant value of the Stokes stream function encloses a streamtube, everywhere tangential to the flow velocity vectors...
, can be used to describe the velocity components of an incompressible flow with one scalarScalar (mathematics)In linear algebra, real numbers are called scalars and relate to vectors in a vector space through the operation of scalar multiplication, in which a vector can be multiplied by a number to produce another vector....
function.
Pressurefree velocity formulation
The incompressible Navier–Stokes equation is a differential algebraic equation, having the inconvenient feature that there is no explicit mechanism for advancing the pressure in time. Consequently, much effort has been expended to eliminate the pressure from all or part of the computational process. The stream function formulation above eliminates the pressure (in 2D) at the expense of introducing higher derivatives and elimination of the velocity, which is the primary variable of interest.
The incompressible Navier–Stokes equation is composite, the sum of two orthogonal equations,,,
where and are solenoidal and irrotational projection operators satisfying and
and are the nonconservative and conservative parts of the body force. This result follows from the Helmholtz TheoremHelmholtz theoremThere are several theorems known as the Helmholtz theorem:* Helmholtz decomposition, also known as the fundamental theorem of vector calculus* Helmholtz theorem * Helmholtz's theorems in fluid mechanicsCategory:Mathematical theorems...
(also known as the fundamental theorem of vector calculus). The first equation is a pressureless governing equation for the velocity, while the second equation for the pressure is a functional of the velocity and is related to the pressure Poisson equation.
The explicit functional form of the projection operator in 3D is found from the Helmholtz TheoremHelmholtz theoremThere are several theorems known as the Helmholtz theorem:* Helmholtz decomposition, also known as the fundamental theorem of vector calculus* Helmholtz theorem * Helmholtz's theorems in fluid mechanicsCategory:Mathematical theorems...
.
with a similar structure in 2D. Thus the governing equation is an integrodifferential equationIntegrodifferential equationAn integrodifferential equation is an equation which involves both integrals and derivatives of a function.The general firstorder, linear integrodifferential equation is of the form...
and not convenient for numerical computation.
An equivalent weak or variational form of the equation, proved to produce the same velocity solution as the Navier–Stokes equation, is given by,
for divergencefree test functions satisfying appropriate boundary conditions. Here, the projections are accomplished by the orthogonality of the solenoidal and irrotational function spaces. The discrete form of this is imminently suited to finite element computation of divergencefree flow, as we shall see in the next section. There we will be able to address the question, "How does one specify pressuredriven (Poiseuille) problems with a pressureless governing equation?"
The absence of pressure forces from the governing velocity equation demonstrates that the equation is not a dynamic one, but rather a kinematic equation where the divergencefree condition serves the role of a conservation law. This all would seem to refute the frequent statements that the incompressible pressure enforces the divergencefree condition.
Discrete velocity
With partitioning of the problem domain and defining basis functionBasis functionIn mathematics, a basis function is an element of a particular basis for a function space. Every continuous function in the function space can be represented as a linear combination of basis functions, just as every vector in a vector space can be represented as a linear combination of basis...
s on the partitioned domain, the discrete form of the governing equation is,.
It is desirable to choose basis functions which reflect the essential feature of incompressible flow – the elements must be divergencefree. While the velocity is the variable of interest, the existence of the stream function or vector potential is necessary by the Helmholtz TheoremHelmholtz theoremThere are several theorems known as the Helmholtz theorem:* Helmholtz decomposition, also known as the fundamental theorem of vector calculus* Helmholtz theorem * Helmholtz's theorems in fluid mechanicsCategory:Mathematical theorems...
. Further, to determine fluid flow in the absence of a pressure gradient, one can specify the difference of stream function values across a 2D channel, or the line integral of the tangential component of the vector potential around the channel in 3D, the flow being given by Stokes' TheoremStokes' theoremIn differential geometry, Stokes' theorem is a statement about the integration of differential forms on manifolds, which both simplifies and generalizes several theorems from vector calculus. Lord Kelvin first discovered the result and communicated it to George Stokes in July 1850...
. Discussion will be restricted to 2D in the following.
We further restrict discussion to continuous Hermite finite elements which have at least firstderivative degreesoffreedom. With this, one can draw a large number of candidate triangular and rectangular elements from the platebendingBending of platesBending of plates or plate bending refers to the deflection of a plate perpendicular to the plane of the plate under the action of external forces and moments. The amount of deflection can be determined by solving the differential equations of an appropriate plate theory. The stresses in the...
literature.
These elements have derivatives as components of the gradient. In 2D, the gradient and curl of a scalar are clearly orthogonal, given by the expressions,
Adopting continuous platebending elements, interchanging the derivative degreesoffreedom and changing the sign of the
appropriate one gives many families of stream function elements.
Taking the curl of the scalar stream function elements gives divergencefree velocity elements
. The requirement that the stream
function elements be continuous assures that the normal component of the velocity is continuous across element interfaces, all that is necessary for vanishing divergence on these interfaces.
Boundary conditions are simple to apply. The stream function is constant on noflow surfaces, with noslip velocity conditions on surfaces.
Stream function differences across open channels determine the flow. No boundary conditions are necessary on open boundaries, though consistent values may be used with some problems. These are all Dirichlet conditions.
The algebraic equations to be solved are simple to set up, but of course are nonlinear, requiring iteration of the linearized equations. .
Similar considerations apply to threedimensions, but extension from 2D is not immediate because of the vector nature of the potential, and there exists no simple relation between the gradient and the curl as was the case in 2D.
Pressure recovery
Recovering pressure from the velocity field is easy. The discrete weak equation for the pressure gradient is,,
where the test/weight functions are irrotational. Any conforming scalar finite element may be used. However, the pressure gradient field may also be of interest. In this case one can use scalar Hermite elements for the pressure. For the test/weight functions one would choose the irrotational vector elements obtainied from the gradient of the pressure element.
Compressible flow of Newtonian fluids
There are some phenomena that are closely linked with fluid compressibility. One of the obvious examples is soundSoundSound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.Propagation of...
. Description of such phenomena requires more general presentation of the Navier–Stokes equation that takes into account fluid compressibility. If viscosity is assumed a constant, one additional term appears, as shown here:
where is the volume viscosityVolume viscosityVolume viscosity becomes important only for such effects where fluid compressibility is essential. Examples would include shock waves and sound propagation...
coefficient, also known as bulk viscosity. This additional term disappears for an incompressible fluid, when the divergenceDivergenceIn vector calculus, divergence is a vector operator that measures the magnitude of a vector field's source or sink at a given point, in terms of a signed scalar. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around...
of the flow equals zero.
Application to specific problems
The Navier–Stokes equations, even when written explicitly for specific fluids, are rather generic in nature and their proper application to specific problems can be very diverse. This is partly because there is an enormous variety of problems that may be modeled, ranging from as simple as the distribution of static pressure to as complicated as multiphase flow driven by surface tensionSurface tensionSurface tension is a property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force. It is revealed, for example, in floating of some objects on the surface of water, even though they are denser than water, and in the ability of some insects to run on the water surface...
.
Generally, application to specific problems begins with some flow assumptions and initial/boundary condition formulation, this may be followed by scale analysisScale analysis (mathematics)Scale analysis is a powerful tool used in the mathematical sciences for the simplification of equations with many terms. First the approximate magnitude of individual terms in the equations is determined...
to further simplify the problem. For example, after assuming steady, parallel, one dimensional, nonconvective pressure driven flow between parallel plates, the resulting scaled (dimensionless) boundary value problemBoundary value problemIn mathematics, in the field of differential equations, a boundary value problem is a differential equation together with a set of additional restraints, called the boundary conditions...
is:
The boundary condition is the no slip condition. This problem is easily solved for the flow field:
From this point onward more quantities of interest can be easily obtained, such as viscous drag force or net flow rate.
Difficulties may arise when the problem becomes slightly more complicated. A seemingly modest twist on the parallel flow above would be the radial flow between parallel plates; this involves convection and thus nonlinearity. The velocity field may be represented by a function that must satisfy:
This ordinary differential equationOrdinary differential equationIn mathematics, an ordinary differential equation is a relation that contains functions of only one independent variable, and one or more of their derivatives with respect to that variable....
is what is obtained when the Navier–Stokes equations are written and the flow assumptions applied (additionally, the pressure gradient is solved for). The nonlinear term makes this a very difficult problem to solve analytically (a lengthy implicitImplicit functionThe implicit function theorem provides a link between implicit and explicit functions. It states that if the equation R = 0 satisfies some mild conditions on its partial derivatives, then one can in principle solve this equation for y, at least over some small interval...
solution may be found which involves elliptic integrals and roots of cubic polynomials). Issues with the actual existence of solutions arise for R > 1.41 (approximately; this is not the square root of 2), the parameter R being the Reynolds number with appropriately chosen scales. This is an example of flow assumptions losing their applicability, and an example of the difficulty in "high" Reynolds number flows.
Exact solutions of the Navier–Stokes equations
Some exact solutions to the Navier–Stokes equations exist. Examples of degenerate cases — with the nonlinear terms in the Navier–Stokes equations equal to zero — are Poiseuille flowHagenPoiseuille equationIn fluid dynamics, the Hagen–Poiseuille equation is a physical law that gives the pressure drop in a fluid flowing through a long cylindrical pipe. The assumptions of the equation are that the flow is laminar viscous and incompressible and the flow is through a constant circular crosssection that...
, Couette flowCouette flowIn fluid dynamics, Couette flow refers to the laminar flow of a viscous fluid in the space between two parallel plates, one of which is moving relative to the other. The flow is driven by virtue of viscous drag force acting on the fluid and the applied pressure gradient parallel to the plates...
and the oscillatory Stokes boundary layerStokes boundary layerIn fluid dynamics, the Stokes boundary layer, or oscillatory boundary layer, refers to the boundary layer close to a solid wall in oscillatory flow of a viscous fluid...
. But also more interesting examples, solutions to the full nonlinear equations, exist; for example the Taylor–Green vortex.
Note that the existence of these exact solutions does not imply they are stable: turbulence may develop at higher Reynolds numbers.
A three dimensional steadystate vortex solution
A nice steadystate example with no singularities comes from considering the flow along the lines of a Hopf fibration. Let r be a constant radius to the inner coil. One set of solutions is given by:
for arbitrary constants A and B. This is a solution in a nonviscous gas (compressible fluid) whose density, velocities and pressure goes to zero far from the origin. (Note this is not a solution to the Clay Millennium problem because that refers to incompressible fluids where is a constant.) It is also worth pointing out that the components of the velocity vector are exactly those from the Pythagorean quadruple parametrization. Other choices of density and pressure are possible with the same velocity field:
Wyld diagrams
Wyld diagrams are bookkeeping graphsGraph (mathematics)In mathematics, a graph is an abstract representation of a set of objects where some pairs of the objects are connected by links. The interconnected objects are represented by mathematical abstractions called vertices, and the links that connect some pairs of vertices are called edges...
that correspond to the Navier–Stokes equations via a perturbation expansionPerturbation theoryPerturbation theory comprises mathematical methods that are used to find an approximate solution to a problem which cannot be solved exactly, by starting from the exact solution of a related problem...
of the fundamental continuum mechanicsContinuum mechanicsContinuum mechanics is a branch of mechanics that deals with the analysis of the kinematics and the mechanical behavior of materials modelled as a continuous mass rather than as discrete particles...
. Similar to the Feynman diagramFeynman diagramFeynman diagrams are a pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, first developed by the Nobel Prizewinning American physicist Richard Feynman, and first introduced in 1948...
s in quantum field theoryQuantum field theoryQuantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and manybody systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...
, these diagrams are an extension of KeldyshMstislav KeldyshMstislav Vsevolodovich Keldysh was a Soviet scientist in the field of mathematics and mechanics, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences , President of the USSR Academy of Sciences , three times Hero of Socialist Labor , fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh . He was one of the key figures...
's technique for nonequilibrium processes in fluid dynamics. In other words, these diagrams assign graphsGraph theoryIn mathematics and computer science, graph theory is the study of graphs, mathematical structures used to model pairwise relations between objects from a certain collection. A "graph" in this context refers to a collection of vertices or 'nodes' and a collection of edges that connect pairs of...
to the (often) turbulentTurbulenceIn fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...
phenomena in turbulent fluids by allowing correlatedCorrelation functionA correlation function is the correlation between random variables at two different points in space or time, usually as a function of the spatial or temporal distance between the points...
and interacting fluid particles to obey stochastic processes associated to pseudorandom functionsFunction (mathematics)In mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...
in probability distributionProbability distributionIn probability theory, a probability mass, probability density, or probability distribution is a function that describes the probability of a random variable taking certain values....
s.
Navier–Stokes equations use in games
The Navier–Stokes equations are used extensively in video games in order to model a wide variety of natural phenomena. These include simulations of effects such as water, fire, smoke etc. Many of the implementations used are based on the seminal paper "RealTime Fluid Dynamics for Games" by J. Stam. More recent implementations based upon this work run on the GPU as opposed to the CPU and achieve a much higher degree of performance.
See also
External links
 Simplified derivation of the Navier–Stokes equations
 Millennium Prize problem description.
 CFD online software list A compilation of codes, including Navier–Stokes solvers.

