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# Stream Function & Velocity Potential

## Stream lines/ Stream Function ()

Concept
Relevant Formulas
Examples
Rotation, vorticity
Velocity Potential()
Concept
Relevant Formulas
Examples
Relationship between stream function and velocity potential
Complex velocity potential

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Stream Lines
Consider 2D incompressible flow
Continuity Eqn

Vx V y Vz 0
t x y z

Vx
Vx Vy 0 Vy dy
x
x y
Vx and Vy are related
Can you write a common function for both?
IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005
Stream Function
Assume
Vx
y
Then
V x

2
Vy dy dy
x xy
2
dy
yx x
Instead of two functions, Vx and Vy, we need to solve for only one function
Stream Function
Order of differential eqn increased by one

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Stream Function
What does Stream Function mean?

## Equation for streamlines in 2D are given by

= constant
Streamlines may exist in 3D also, but stream function does not
Why? (When we work with velocity potential, we may get a
perspective)
In 3D, streamlines follow the equation

dx dy dz

Vx Vy Vz

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Rotation
Definition of rotation

t + t
Vx ime =
y y T
y y Time=t

Vx y x
Vy Vy
x x x

x
Assume Vy|x < Vy|x+x d
ROTATION z
and Vx|y > Vx|y+y dt 2
IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005
Rotation
To Calculate Rotation

y1
tan = t + t
x Time

y1 Vy x x

t Vy
x
t
y1

arctan
V y x x Vy
x
t
x
Similarly
arctan

Vx y y Vx y t
y
IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005
Rotation
To Calculate Rotation

d 1
ROTATION z lim
t t t
2 t 0 t
dt 2

arctan
V
y x x
Vy
x
t
arctan

V
x y y
Vx y t

x y
1 1
lim lim
2 t 0 t 2 t 0 t
x 0 x 0
y 0
y 0
For very small time and very small element, x, y
and t are close to zero

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Rotation
To Calculate Rotation
For very small i.e.
sin cos 1 tan

arctan

arctan
V
y x x
Vy
x
t V y x x Vy
x
t

x x

arctan
V
y x x
Vy
x
t

V Vy t
y x x x

x x
lim lim
t 0 t t 0 t
x 0 x 0
y 0 y 0
IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005
Rotation
To Calculate Rotation

lim
V y x x Vy
x
V y
x 0 x x

arctan
V
y x x
Vy
x
t
arctan

V
x y y
Vx y t

x y
1 1
z lim lim
2 x t00 t 2 x t 0
0 t
y 0 y 0

Simplifies to
1 Vy Vx
z
2 x y
1 r
z V
2

IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005
Rotation in terms of Stream Function
To write rotation in terms of stream functions

Vx Vy
y x

1 Vy Vx 1
2 2
z 2 2
2 x y 2 x y
1
2
2
That is
2 2 z 0

2 0

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Rotation and Potential
For irrotational flow (z=0)
r
1

z V 0
2

r
V 0

Vy Vx
0
x y
This equation is similar to continuity equation
Vx and Vy are related
Can we find a common function to relate both Vx and Vy ?

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Vy Vx
0
Velocity Potential x y

Assume
Then Vy Vx 2 2
Vx

x x y yx xy

Vy
y

## In 3D, similarly it can be shown that

Vz
z
is the velocity potential

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Velocity Potential vs Stream
Function

## Stream Function ( ) Velocity Potential ()

only 2D flow all flows
Irrotational (i.e. Inviscid or
viscous or non-viscous flows zero viscosity) flow
Exists
for

## In 2D inviscid flow (incompressible flow OR steady state compressible flow), both

functions exist
What is the relationship between them?

## IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005

Stream Function- Physical
meaning

Statement: In
2D (viscous or inviscid) flow (incompressible flow
OR steady state compressible flow), = constant represents
the streamline.
Proof

If = constant, then d

d dx dy
x y
Vy dx Vx dy
0 Vy
If = constant, then
dy Vy Vx

dx Vx
IIT-Madras, Momentum Transfer: July 2005-Dec 2005