Encyclopedia > Potential flow

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Potential flow

Potential flow, also know as incompressible flow or irrotational flow in fluid mechanics is flow defined by the equations

<math> \nabla \times \mathbf{v} = 0</math> (zero rotation = no shear)

<math> \nabla \cdot \mathbf{v} = 0</math> (zero divergence = continuity)

Equivalently,

<math> \mathbf{v} = \nabla \Phi \; , </math>

where:

  • v is the vector fluid velocity
  • Φ is the fluid flow potential, scalar
  • " ×" is curl
  • " ·" is divergence

Together with the Navier-Stokes equations, these equations can be used to calculate solutions to many practical flow situations.

See also



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