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# Chapter 6 Stokes Flows

One of the earlier approximations to the Navier-Stokes equations goes back to Stokes himself, who studied the limit of very small Reynolds number. This has applications to very viscous ows, suspensions and bubbles, and the recently important eld of micro-uid-dynamics. Highlights include Stokes paradox, far-eld eects, kinematic reversibility, and the role of vorticity. (Fig. 6.1).

6.1

Stokes equation

We start from the Navier-Stokes equations, and use a velocity U and length L as scaling quantities. Notations: ui = U u i Then becomes xj = L x j (6.1)

1 2 t ui + uj j ui = i p + jj ui
2 U t u i + U /Luj j ui =

1 2 p + U/L2 jj ui (6.2) L i Since we expect the viscous term to be signicant, we set its coecient equal to 1 by multiplication by L2 /U , yielding L2 L 2 t u p + jj ui i + ReL uj j ui = U i 145 (6.3)

146

## G.I. Taylors movie: Creeping ows

Vanishing Reynolds number (large viscosity or small scale or low velocity) or convective terms vanish because of geometry (e.g. Poiseuille/Couette ow at moderate Re). Kinematic reversibility (but stresses change sign). No inertia, no convective terms. Balls, drops and suspensions. Vorticity essential (from B.C.). Long range eects: 2 everywhere.

Flow around a sphere: exact solution Stokes paradox: ow around a cylinder Stokes drag Slender bodies Lubrication Propulsion Hele-Shaw cell Figure 6.1: A wonderful movie by G.I. Taylor: low Re ows

## 6.1. STOKES EQUATION

147

Figure 6.2: Mind-map relative to scaling of pressure In the limit of very small ReL , the nonlinear terms drop out. Mathematically, this makes the equations linear in ui , hence more easily solvable. Also, 2 . Flow disturbances associated with times larger the viscous time scale is L than this are in eect quasi-stationary, and the eld is in equilibrium with the current conditions imposed at the boundary (examples in the movie). Furthermore, we see that U 2 is no longer the correct scaling for pressure. In this instance, the pressure eld scales as U/L, which may be representative of the shear stress applied at a boundary. See Fig. 6.2 The resulting equation is very simple:
2 i p = jj ui

(6.4) (6.5)

or or again (using incompressibility, so that = 2 u) p = This should be contrasted to Croccos result for inviscid ow. Since we assume incompressibility ( u = 0), it follows that 2 p = 0. (6.7) (6.6) p = 2 u

148

## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

Figure 6.3: Mind-map: Pressure and vorticity in Stokes ow: Laplace equation and far-eld eects Similarly, since p = 0 for any smooth scalar function, we also have 2 = 0. (6.8) Laplace equation everywhere! Note that in the case of (vector) vorticity, it applies to each component. For vorticity, the stretching and advection terms are negligible in Stokes ow. As boundary conditions vary (slowly enough), diusive equilibrium with the current boundary values is reached instantly (i.e. much faster). Recall the important properties of the Laplace equation: the solution at any point is determined by boundary conditions over the entire boundary. The boundary conditions can be either for the eld itself (e.g. pressure) or its normal gradient, at each point of the boundary. Actual dependence on remote boundary points is quantied by Greens function. Many of the nonlocal eects in Stokes ow (Taylor movies, see below) are related directly to this analytical feature.

6.1.1

Kinematic reversibility
2 i p = jj ui

## Go back to Stokes equation for velocity (6.9)

If we reverse spatial directions, the pressure gradient changes sign, the Laplacian keeps its sign, but velocity changes sign as well (time, as we know, cannot be reversed!) All in all, the equation is unchanged when we change the

## 6.2. STOKES TWO PROBLEMS

149

Figure 6.4: Reversal in Stokes ow. sign of any (cartesian) coordinate. The illustrations in Taylors movie are spectacular! See Panton Ch21 Fig. 21.1 p.641 for reversibility of a ow over a block (also note the secondary ows in the corners). There is an important distinction to be made between kinematic reversibility (above), dynamic reversibility (see the problem about potential ow at the end of this chapter) and thermodynamic reversibility. Make sure you dont mix them up!

6.2

## Stokes two problems

Two exact solutions of the equations can be derived in congurations that reduce them to 1-D diusion. They are part of a larger class of problems treated systematically by Rayleigh (see e.g. Telionis Unsteady viscous ow, Springer) The problems have in common an innite at plate, with a viscous uid on one side. As the plate moves in its own plane, it induces motion in the uid. The case of the rotating plate leads to the steady-state K` arm` an pump . The simpler case of rectilinear motion was solved by Stokes. It is noteworthy that these problems are unchanged if the Reynolds number (e.g. based on oscillation amplitude and frequency and on uid viscosity) is not small. See problem at the end of chapter. Because of homogeneity (no privileged point), the motion of the uid is also rectilinear, with no pressure gradient in the homogenous direction of

150

## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

2.5

1.5

0.5

0 1

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

Figure 6.5: Stokes two problems: oscillating (dotted lines) and impulsively started (solid line) plate; unit viscosity and frequency; times .1, .2 ... 1.

## 6.3. STOKES FLOW AROUND A SPHERE motion, and the equation is

2 t u = yy u

151

(6.10)

The two Stokes problems have this diusion equation in common; the dierence is in the boundary condition. For the rst problem, we start from rest, and the plate is impulsively started at constant speed U for t > 0. For the second problem, the plate oscillates with frequency U |y=0 = U0 e2it (6.11)

The solutions are classics, and should be read carefully1 . For the rst prob lem, the motion progresses into the uid, aecting a layer scaling as t. For the second problem, the cumulative eect of wall motion is partially cancelled by its periodic reversals, and the ow oscillates, out of phase with the forcing, with decreasing amplitude away from the wall. See e.g. Panton Sections 11.2 and 1.3 p.266-279 for details.

6.3

## Stokes ow around a sphere

With Stokes equation expressing momentum balance at vanishing Reynolds number, we also need to satisfy mass balance. This can be done with the use of a vector potential (review Ch2 !) u = A or = 2 A as an alternative to Eq.6.7). Then, mass and momentum balance are combined in the single relation 2 2 A = 0 (6.13) subject to boundary conditions that reect the specics of a given problem.
One method of solution makes use of Greens functions, and (without going into the details of actual solution) points to interesting physics. Greens function for diusion for this case is (yy )2 1 G(y, t; y , t ) = (6.12) e 4 (tt ) 2 (t t ) for t t , and zero otherwise. It shows that the eect of a source at (x , t ) is felt instantly throughout the eld, but decreases very rapidly with distance. The equilibrium solution for innite time corresponds to the Laplace equation: one obtains the Biot-Savart kernel by integrating the diusion Greens function over time.
1

152

## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

Figure 6.6: The ow around a sphere and around a cylinder are classical cases, for which the geometry indicates the need for spherical and cylindrical (polar) coordinates, respectively. (Make sure you know where to nd the appropriate formulae of vector calculus.) The ow around a sphere of radius R turns out to be simpler and is presented rst. In spherical coordinates (r , , ) (where is the longitude and is the co-latitude), we have 1 [ (sin A ) A ]er r sin 1 1 1 Ar r (rA )]e + [r (rA ) Ar ]e + [ r sin r u=A=

(6.14)

Of course, we dont wish to handle this in the most general case! With the direction of the ow around the sphere as the polar axis, axisymmetry requires that u = 0, (6.15) which implies that Ar and A should be constant (and we can take them equal to zero without loss of generality). Then, A = A e , and the velocity eld simplies into u=A= 1 1 (sin A )er r (rA )e r sin r (6.16)

6.3. STOKES FLOW AROUND A SPHERE Then, introducing the streamfunction = r sin A the velocity eld is u= r2 1 1 er r e . sin r sin

153

(6.17)

(6.18)

(that wasnt so hard, was it?) What we have expressed so far is: mass conservation, axisymmetry. Now, the BCs will make the solution specic to the sphere. Since the sphere itself must coincide with a streamline, must be constant on the sphere, and we can take |R = 0 (6.19)

without loss of generality, with ur = u = 0 (no slip). At innity, uniform ow requires (r ) | = 0 (6.20) and furthermore we know that ur = U cos and u = U sin so r2 U sin2 as r (6.21) 2 Finally, we must get the right dynamics: Stokes equation takes the form:
2 [rr +

## 1 sin ( )]2 = 0 2 r sin

(6.22)

We know we are in luck (right combination of dynamics and boundary conditions) when separation of variables works: try it for practice. The result is 1 r 3R 1 R 3 = R 2U ( )2 sin2 [1 + ( ) ] (6.23) 2 R 2r 2 r The velocity components are easily obtained, and vorticity is given by the relation U3 R 2 = ( ) sin (6.24) R2 r (which component is this, by the way?) maximum at the equator and zero along the polar axis.

154
2 14 0 12 2 10 4 8 6 6 8

## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

4 10

Figure 6.7: Stokes ow around a sphere: (left) particle paths around a xed sphere, top to bottom; (right) seen from the uid at rest, the motion of the sphere aects the motion of some particles (bottom to top). It should be noticed that the streamlines exhibit symmetry upstream/downstream (dependence on sin( ), not cosine!). Does this make sense to you? What is the relevant concept earlier in this chapter? In relation to kinematics (chapter 2), the dierence between the steady ow (as observed from the sphere) versus unsteady ow (as observed from the uid away from the sphere) is of interest. On Fig. (6.7) Seen from the sphere, the streamlines, pathlines and streaklines are identical (steady ow). From the uid at rest, this is not the case. Edit and expand. The pressure distribution can be calculated exactly: separation of variables in the Laplace equation gives p = p + 3 U R 2 ( ) cos 2 R r (6.25)

## 6.3. STOKES FLOW AROUND A SPHERE

155

Figure 6.8: Wall interference of rising bubble or falling sediment As one would expect, pressure is maximum at the forward stagnation point ( = 0) and minimum at the rear stagnation point (no dynamic reversibility!). Forcing an inertial scaling on this expression gives for the stagnation pressures 3 1 ps p = U 2 2 Re (6.26)

Finally, calculation of the normal and tangential stresses over the entire surface can be carried out (e.g., do it in Maple, starting from the solution for velocity). The result (See Panton p647, Batchelor p233) is the classical result for Stokes drag: F = 6RU (6.27) This exact formula can be used to calculate viscosity from a measurement of terminal velocities of spherical objects (bubbles, etc.)

6.3.1

Nonlocal eects

Because of the ubiquitous Laplacians, and associated Greens functions, the boundary condition at the sphere surface induces vorticity and relative velocity at large distances from the sphere. Two eects follow from this observation. First, consider a bubble rising near a vertical wall. The ball of inuence of the bubble (region where it disturbs appreciably the ambient liquid) intersects the wall, which prevents the induced motion from taking place. This

156

## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

constraint on the induced motion slows down the bubble, as the viscous uid needs to go around the bubble in some other way. So the bubble rises more slowly near the wall than elsewhere in the bulk of the liquid. A similar situation arises if two bubbles rise side-by-side. This corresponds to the method of images, a mainstay for the solution of Laplaces equation: the plane of symmetry is similar (though dierent in one important respect: do you see which?) to the impermeable wall. The lack of elbow room slows down the bubbles, which rise more slowly than they would individually. This is the reason why a cloud of rising bubbles of uniform size (only approximated by air bubbles in a vigorously shaken water container) will have a at bottom: individual bubbles left behaind will soon catch up the the cloud - but on the top side, any front-runner will run away from the crowd.

6.3.2

## See falling rod, Taylor movie.

6.4

With this background, Stokes ow around a cylinder appears as a simpler variant of the above. Surprise! In cylindrical coordinates (r , , z ), we have 1 u = A = ( Az z A )er r 1 +(z Ar r Az )e + (r (rA ) Ar )ez r

(6.28)

Then, symmetry can be imposed, and boundary conditions follow. The surprise is that it is impossible to match the boundary conditions both at innity (uniform ow) and at the cylinder surface (no-slip) with Stokes ow dynamics. What the mathematics are telling us is the nonlocal cumulative eect of vorticity near the cylinder does not vanish fast enough in 2D, whereas they did in 3D (dierent Greens function!). The proper Reynolds number is the Re based on the region aected by vorticity and this Re is always of O(1) for cylinder regardless of U . Thus, Stokes ow around a cylinder does not exist! Any ow around a cylinder shows eects of inertia (nite Re), e.g. a wake in which the velocity defect shown as wider spacing

## 6.5. REYNOLDS LUBRICATION THEORY

157

Figure 6.9: Wake of a cylinder even at small Re shows that Stokes ow does not exist in this geometry. of the streamlines on the downstream side. The corresponding solution was rst calculated by Oseen.

6.5

## Reynolds lubrication theory

Reynolds studied another important application at vanishing Re. The Couettelike shear ow between non-parallel surfaces is illustrated by Taylors little gizmo in the movie; sliding a sheat of paper across a table, air-hockey and similar games, thrust bearings for marine propellers, and the circular geometry of excentric journal bearings, provide a wealth of illustrations. The combination of narrow gaps (small Re), shallow angles and moderate velocities yield relatively large hydrodynamic forces on the solid surfaces. The basic problem is formulated as follows (Batchelor p219, Panton p 660), 2-D (plane) to simplify expressions. Fixed pad of length L above, at plate sliding at velocity U , gap of thickness h(t, x) with h L everywhere. Then x L, y h and u U . It follows (x-momentum) that p U L h2 (6.29)

2 x p = yy u

Uh L

(6.30)

(6.31)

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## CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS

Figure 6.10: Denition sketch for the Reynolds lubrication problem. with the no-slip conditions u |y=0 = U and u |y=h = 0. The solution is readily obtained (combination of Couette and Poiseuille) as u= y y y h2 x p(( )2 ) + U (1 ) 2 h h h (6.32)

It can be checked (see BL approximation) that in the y -momentum equation, the pressure term is of order U L/h3 , while the viscous term is only of order U/hL. So the pressure term is unmatched in terms of order of magnitude, unless y p vanishes to eliminate its own scaling factor. So, the v component is determined by mass balance, not by momentum balance. Start from the continuity equation and integrate over the entire depth:
h(x) 0

x u dy +

h(x) 0

y v dy = 0

(6.33)

The second integral is straightforward, the rst one calls for the Leibniz theorem (see integral method in related courses)2 . The result is 1 x (h3 x p) = 6U x h + 12t h
2

(6.34)

In a nutshell,
b(x) b

dx
a(x)

f (x, y ) dy =
a

## 6.5. REYNOLDS LUBRICATION THEORY

159

p . 4/3 . h2/ L . h

1/2

/ U

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0 0.2

0.2

0.4 x/L

0.6

0.8

1.2

Figure 6.11: Pressure distribution under a simple pad known as Reynolds lubrication equation. It is a Poisson-type equation for pressure, with derivatives of h as source terms and ambient pressure at either end of the pad as BCs. In the simple case of time-independent h and uniform slope, we write = x h as the constant (small) pad angle, so that sin , and the solution is p(x) p0 = 6U (h0 h)(h h1 ) h2 0 (h0 + h1 ) (6.35)

Writing h = h0 x, h1 = h0 L and h1/2 = (h0 + h1 )/2, and keeping only the leading term for small , we get p(x) p0 = 6U x(L x) 3 L2 U 2x 2x = (2 ) 2 2 h0 (h0 + h1 ) 4 h0 h1/2 L L (6.36)

This expression is informative. The spatial dependence is parabolic, with its maximum at the center of the pad. We factored out the average shear U stress h in accordance with Stokes ow scaling. The remaining factor 1/2 2 2 3L /4h0 can be extremely large. The lower limit of h0 > L is determined by surface tolerances.

160

6.6

## Lagrangian turbulence, chaotic mixing

Although reversibility is true for incremental time steps, and might be expected to hold for nite times, there are instances of extreme sensitivity to initial conditions such that chaotic mixing occurs even in Stokes ow. See the literature on Lagrangian turbulence for this.

6.7

Journal bearings: see introduction in Acheson, p 250. Hele-Shaw cell: ow viz of potential ow. See Acheson for a clear simple presentation. Liquid adhesive: thin layer of uid between matching surfaces. Separating the surfaces requires the creation of Poiseuille ow between them, which in turns requires very large pressure gradients. The nite-Re eects for the ow around the sphere introduce weak nonlinearities. The classic analysis of Oseen can be found in textbooks on viscous ows. The convective terms break the front/back symmetry of the ow. The dierence between large Re (inertial) and small Re (viscous) propulsion is well illustrated in Taylors movie. The eld of micro uid mechanics has evolved recently under combined pressures of MEM-actuators for ow control strategies and the growth of interest in biomedical applications of uid dynamics. This is beyond the scope of this course.

Problems
1. Discuss the contrast between the reversal of dye motion in Taylors movie and the lack of reversal for the piece of thread. Map out the relevant ideas. 2. We saw that Stokes ow is kinematically reversible. Carry out a similar analysis for potential ow, and comment on the dierences. How about dynamic similarity? In which is pressure independent of ow direction? why?

6.7. ADVANCED TOPICS AND IDEAS FOR FURTHER READING 161 3. In irrotational ows, we had 2 = 0; in axisymmetric Stokes ow, we have 2 = 0. Discuss analytical and phenomenological similarities and dierences. 4. Identify the sources of pressure in Stokes ow. 5. Outline dierences and similarities between Stokes rst problem (impulsively started plate) and boundary layer development. 6. Taylors two problems, as well as classical Poiseuille and Couette ows, use the Stokes ow approximation in spite of Reynolds numbers possibly of the order of 1000. Resolve this apparent discrepancy. 7. Analyze the vertical motion of Taylors teetotum, to determine how the elevation of the pads above the table surface is aected by angular speed (other obvious parameters: pad angle and area, weight per pad, typical radius, weight,...) 8. Consider two extreme cases of the ow past a rectangular block (Van Dyke Figs. 5 and 11, sketched on Fig. 6.12) Discuss kinematic and dy-

Figure 6.12: Potential and creeping ow past a block namic reversiblity; discuss similarities and dierences relative to pressure, vorticity, wall stress, velocity magnitudes, etc. 9. Consider Stokes second problem: a Reynolds number based on amplitude of plate oscillation, frequency and viscosity, is easily constructed.

162

CHAPTER 6. STOKES FLOWS We not assume this Re to be small, yet Stokes equation applies. Explain why, and list familiar examples where the same situation occurs.

Chapter 7 Interlude
This is a good time to organize some lines of thought. The student is urged to go back over the material covered, and collect facts and equations (and mind maps) associated with every topic mentioned more than once: no topic should be without context. Here, the emphasis is put on three main themes: the approximations, non-local eects, and vorticity.

7.1

The approximations

The approximations to the intractable Navier-Stokes equations are based on scaling analysis and dimensionless numbers: depending on the correct orders of magnitude, the ability to neglect some terms is of great importance for analysis, computation and experimentation alike. Just as important is the awareness of the discarded physics. When we drop the convective or the viscous term, a number of phenomena become inconsistent with the new equations. Even experienced uid dynamicists can overlook these inconsistencies on occasion: context should be ever present as the best safeguard. The key to the correct use of approximations is to remember that they correspond to extreme cases. The results and insights obtained in these extreme cases cannot be taken blindly into the more complicated cases of practical interest, but they can help our thinking, if only to treat results with caution. 163

164

CHAPTER 7. INTERLUDE

7.2

Non-local eects

Non-local eects are not emphasized explicitly in many uid mechanics texts. Although Biot-Savart and induced velocities are generally mentioned, and the pressure equation (divergence of Navier-Stokes) is sometimes listed, the general properties of the Poisson and Laplace equations is generally overlooked except for numerical work. These elliptic equations are mathematically and computationally challenging in practical geometries; of interest at this level is the concept of non-locality. Velocity in potential ow, pressure in large and small Reynolds and small Rossby number ows, vorticity in Stokes ows, and others, provide the opportunity for remote diagnostics and therefore for ow control strategies. Students should make non-local eects part of their thinking.

7.3

## The role of vorticity

Vorticity can be taken as the leitmotiv for this course. Aside from the elegance of potential ow, with its unique solutions and easy phenomenology, vorticity is responsible for the complexity and/or beauty of most of uid mechanics. Vorticity comes in many contexts: kinematics with two of the Helmholtz theorems, inviscid dynamics with Kelvins theorem and Helmholtzs other theorem, and viscous ows of all types, instabilities and secondary ows and rotating ows in the following chapters, and so many more topics.