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Expansions at small Reynolds numbers for the flow past a sphere and a circular cylinder

  • Ian Proudman (a1) and J. R. A. Pearson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2006

This paper is concerned with the problem of obtaining higher approximations to the flow past a sphere and a circular cylinder than those represented by the well-known solutions of Stokes and Oseen. Since the perturbation theory arising from the consideration of small non-zero Reynolds numbers is a singular one, the problem is largely that of devising suitable techniques for taking this singularity into account when expanding the solution for small Reynolds numbers.

The technique adopted is as follows. Separate, locally valid (in general), expansions of the stream function are developed for the regions close to, and far from, the obstacle. Reasons are presented for believing that these ‘Stokes’ and ‘Oseen’ expansions are, respectively, of the forms $\Sigma \;f_n(R) \psi_n(r, \theta)$ and $\Sigma \; F_n(R) \Psi_n(R_r, \theta)$ where (r, θ) are spherical or cylindrical polar coordinates made dimensionless with the radius of the obstacle, R is the Reynolds number, and $f_{(n+1)}|f_n$ and $F_{n+1}|F_n$ vanish with R. Substitution of these expansions in the Navier-Stokes equation then yields a set of differential equations for the coefficients ψn and Ψn, but only one set of physical boundary conditions is applicable to each expansion (the no-slip conditions for the Stokes expansion, and the uniform-stream condition for the Oseen expansion) so that unique solutions cannot be derived immediately. However, the fact that the two expansions are (in principle) both derived from the same exact solution leads to a ‘matching’ procedure which yields further boundary conditions for each expansion. It is thus possible to determine alternately successive terms in each expansion.

The leading terms of the expansions are shown to be closely related to the original solutions of Stokes and Oseen, and detailed results for some further terms are obtained.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
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