We apply a new kind of analytic technique, namely the homotopy analysis method (HAM), to give an explicit, totally analytic, uniformly valid solution of the two-dimensional laminar viscous flow over a semi-infinite flat plate governed by f‴(η)+αf(η)f″(η)+β[1−f′2(η)]=0 under the boundary conditions f(0)=f′(0)=0, f′(+∞)=1. This analytic solution is uniformly valid in the whole region 0[les ]η<+∞. For Blasius' (1908) flow (α=1/2, β=0), this solution converges to Howarth's (1938) numerical result and gives a purely analytic value f″(0)=0.332057. For the Falkner–Skan (1931) flow (α=1), it gives the same family of solutions as Hartree's (1937) numerical results and a related analytic formula for f″(0) when 2[ges ]β[ges ]0. Also, this analytic solution proves that when −0.1988[les ]β0 Hartree's (1937) family of solutions indeed possess the property that f′→1 exponentially as η→+∞. This verifies the validity of the homotopy analysis method and shows the potential possibility of applying it to some unsolved viscous flow problems in fluid mechanics.
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