# Fuids - vorticity from viscocity

1. Jun 6, 2014

### julian

If invisid flow starts with no vorticity then no vorticity will be produced. This can be understood
intuitively: we note that of the three types of force that can act on a cubic fluid
element, the pressure, body forces, and viscous forces, only the viscous shear forces are
able to give rotary motion. Hence if the viscous effects are nonexistent, vorticity cannot
be introduced.

Can this be derived from the Navier-Stokes equations for vorticity:

$\dfrac{\partial \vec{\omega}}{\partial t} + \vec{u} \cdot \nabla \vec{\omega} = \vec{\omega} \cdot \nabla \vec{u} + \nu \nabla^2 \vec{\omega}$

$\nabla \cdot \vec{u} = 0$?

Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
2. Jun 6, 2014

Sure. Note that the vorticity transport equation can be rewritten with the material derivative instead
$$\dfrac{\partial \vec{\omega}}{\partial t} + \vec{u}\cdot\nabla\vec{\omega} = \dfrac{D\vec{\omega}}{Dt} = \vec{\omega}\cdot\nabla\vec{u} + \nu\nabla^2\vec{\omega}.$$

For an inviscid flow, that last term is zero (or neglected), that leaves
$$\dfrac{D\vec{\omega}}{Dt} = \vec{\omega}\cdot\nabla\vec{u}.$$

So basically, this states that if the flow is irrotational initially, then $\vec{\omega}(t=0) = 0$, and therefore
$$\dfrac{D\vec{\omega}}{Dt} = 0,$$
meaning the flow remains irrotational forever. That does leave open the possibility that if the flow initially contains some vorticity, the vorticity can change over time and space.

If you want to take that further, consider a 2-D flow, in which case the $\vec{\omega}\cdot\nabla\vec{u}$ term drops out as well (it only only contains derivatives in the direction that is zero by the 2-D definition) and
$$\dfrac{D\vec{\omega}}{Dt} \equiv 0$$
regardless of initial conditions.

This whole concept is known as Kelvin's theorem.

3. Jun 6, 2014

### julian

Thanks for that. I also want to know if you start with no vorticity at an instant in time, will the presence of the viscous term lead to the production of vorticity?

In 2D the vorticity equation is just the diffusion equation for the vorticity, and from what I know about that I would say that if there was no vorticity to start with there would be no production of vorticity.

Can vorticity only be produced from the non-slip condition for solid objects?

Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
4. Jun 8, 2014