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HANSEN,E. B.: Potential Flow Past a Cylinder

ZAMM . Z. Angew. Math. u. Mech. 86 (1985)9, 437 -440



Potential Flow Past a Cylinder Between Parallel Walls

Vorgestelltwird eine Liisung, die mittels einer Integralgleichungsmethode erhdten wurde. Die auf mehreren Wegen durchge- jiihrte Uberpriifung der Ergebnisse ergab, daJ die relativen Fehler 10-8 und kleiner sind. Ein Vergleich der Ergebnisse mit denen aus der angefiihrten Literatur wurde nicht vorgenommen.

A solution obtained by an integral equation method is presented. The results have been tested in various ways and the findings indicate that the relative errors are 10-8 or less. No attempt has been made to compare the results with those presented in the references.

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pasm.1~~YT&M.Ehno nonyyeHo, TO OTnocaTemHan ornmka samcb c npaReneHHbrMu B ~aasamoiinmeparype.

I. Introdiictiori

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The probleni of irrotational flow of an inviscid, incompressible fluid past a circnlar cylinder placed in a channel with parallel walls has often been used for testing new numerical methods [1-81. However, since none of the solu- tions described in the above references appears to be able to claim such a degree of accuracy that it can serve as a standard of comparison for the others, there seems to be a need for an accurate solution to the problem. In this note we present a solution obtained by an integral equation method. We have tested our results in various ways, as described in Section 3, and our findings indicate that the relative errors are lo-* or less. It is therefore hoped that our result will prove iiseful for those who wish to test other methods by applying them to the present problem. As it is not our purpose to evaluate the accuracy of the solutions presented in the references no attempt has been made to compare those results with ours. For computational reasons, the problem considered here is often approximated by one where the infinite channel is replaced by a finite one with appropriate boundary conditions prescribed at the lipstream and down- stream ends. Tn order to estimate how much thia changes the velocity field we have also solved snch a problem.

2. The boundary integral equation

Consider a plane potential flow of an inviscid and incompressible fluid around a cylinder in the channel shown in Figure 1. The cylinder need not to be circular but we assume that its surface is smooth and symmetric with respect to the x-axis. We also assume that the flow velocity approaches a constant vector (q,,0) at infinity and that the cir-


Fig. 1. A circular cylinder C with radius R is placed symmetrically in a channel with plane parallel walls and width 2. The angle 0 is measured clockwise along the cylinder surface with 0 = 0 on the negative z-axis.

culation around the cylinder vanishes. If the velocity is measured in units of vuo?and all distances are measured in

units of half the channel width the velocity

function y which is the solution to Laplace's equation

field is then expressed as (us, vy) = (yy,-ye) in terms of the stream

V2y = 0 9


which satisfies the boundary conditions


on the cylinder and

y(z,21) = fl


on the channel walls and the condition

y(2, Y) = Y + O(exp (-44 ))


where a is a positive constant for 1x1 -+ m. We shall refer to the problem given by (1)through (4a)as Problem A.

438 ZAMM . Z. Angew. Math. u. Illech. 66 (1985)9

For computational reasons Problem A is often approximated by one with a finite domain of definition. There- fore, we shall also consider Problem B, which is given by (l),(2),and (3), and the conditions


where xo is a positive constant, which is large enough so that neither of the planes x = +xo intersects with the cylinder. We wish to set up integral equation formulations of the Problems A and B such that the only unknown is the velocity on the cylinder surface. Then we need fundamental solutions which vanish on the channel walls. The func- tion


where E = exp (4nfx- 5‘)) has this property. It is found by conformal mapping from Green’s function for Dirich-

let’s problem in a half

Problem B the fundamental solution should vanish on x = fx,, also. By the method of images we construct the function


which has the required property. We now use Green’s second identity with the functions y - y and GAor GBinserted. The domain of integra-

tion, Q, is a doubly connected region bounded on the inside by the trace,,C, of the cylinder surface in the xy-plane.

The exterior boundary, CE, consists of sections of straight lines

and x1 = xo in Problem B. If (x’,y’) E 9,we thereby find that

Y(+XO, Y) = Y

GA(z - x’,y, y‘) = (4n)-lIn (E2+ 1 + 2E cos ($n(y

+ y’)))/(E2+ 1 - 2E cos ($n‘(c.(y- y’)))

space. Since GA vanishes exponentially as (x- z’I -+ m, we shall use it in Problem A. In




GA(2 + (-1)%+12’ + 2nzo,y, y’)

OR(% - Z’,y, y’) =



= ,1

and x = +xl, where x1 --t co in Problem A

?/’(XI,y’) = y’ + [[(a- NY)G - (y -


where Ny is the y-component of the outward unit normal, #, to the boundary, and a/aN denotes differentiation in the direction of 3. In (6), G stands for GA and GB in Problems A and B respectively. Because of the properties of y and G the integral along CE vanishes in both problems. If (x‘,y’) E Q, G as well y are harmonic inside C, and there- fore the integral along C of -NYG + y aG/aN is also zero. Finally, since ?’ = 0 on C, (6) reduces to


By taking the derivative in the direction of the arbitrary unit vector #’ on both sides of (7), we obtain the formula

If ay/aN is known on C, (v2,vy) = (ay/ay’, -ay’/az’) can be computed at an arbitrary point (x’,y’) in Q from (8). If, in (8), we let be the unit normal vector, %(a’), at a point on C and let (x’,y’) approach the same point, we obtain the integral equation

1 ~~(qc‘)= -NI(s‘) +




x, y, y) ds ,


where x = x(s),y = y(s), x’ = ~(s’), 9’ = y(s’), and u(s) = -ay/aN is the flow velocity in the clockwise direction on C. Equation (9) with G = GAor G = GB is our integral equation formulation of Problems A and B respectively

3. Solution and Results

The integral equation (9) was solved numerically for a circular cylinder by a collocation method. The integral was approximated by means of the trapezoidal rule with the nodes coinciding with the collocation points. When solving

the equation we took the symmetry of

satisfied at 8 = +n and at, say, M - 1 points uniformly distributed in the interval 0 < 8 <+n. The resulting system of M linear, algebraic equations with M unknowns was solved by Gauss elimination using the Harwell subroutine MA21AD. The computations were carried out in double precision (16 digits) on the IBM 3081-computer at the NEUCC computing centre in Lyngby. Some of the results are presented in Tables 1 through 4. Most of the results in the tables refer to Problem A defined in (1) through (4a). The other results are for Pro- blem B defined in (l),(2), (3), and (4b) with xo = 2. For Problem A as well as for Problem B the equation was solved with the radius, R, of the cylinder equal to 0.1,0.25, 0.5, and 0.75. For all four radii the computations were carried out with M = 16, 32, and 64. At those points where u was found for two or all of the three .M-values the U-values never differed by more than 2. 10-14. We interpret these deviations as a measure of the accuracy of our results. The values for Problem A at the points 8 = 22.5”, 45”, 67.5”, and 90”are shown in Table 1. In the table, the number of decimals has been reduced to 8. which seems sufficient for comparison with results from other known

v about the coordinate axes into account and required the equation to be

HANSEN,E. B. : Potential

Flow Past a Cylinder


Table 1. The velocity at points on the surface of the circular cylinder shown in Figure 1. The results in the first four lines are for Problem A ( an infinite channel);those in the bottom line are for Problem B (a finite channel of length 4).



0 = 22.5

e = 450

0 = 67.5"

e = 900


R = 0.10





R = 0.25






= 0.50


1.731297 19



R = 0.75






R = 0.50





Table 2. The velocity v, at x = 0 in the interval R for Problem A. The right column is for Problem B.

y 1. The four columns to the left are


R = 0.10


R = 0.25

R = 0.50

R = 0.75

R = 0.50










1.780891 62





































Table 3. The velocity at x = -2

and ordinates y as shown in Problems A and B

for R = 0.5. By definition, w, = 1 on x = -2

in Problem B.


y = 0.2

y = 0.5

y = 0.8








0.003 394 83

0.005 741 82

0.003355 26






Table 4. The flux through one gap between the cylinder and the wall at x = 0 in Problem A computed by numerical integration of v, using a 5- and a 7-point Lobatto-formula.The exact value of the flux is 1.

Radius, R 0.1




5 points








1.000007 98


1.OOO 118 16

methods. As an example of the results for Problem B those for R = 0.5 are also shown in Table 1. It is seen that the relative change from the corresponding values for Problem A is or less. This result may be used as a guide when choosing the channel length if the infinite channel is replaced by a finite one in similar problems. After the surface velocity was found, formula (8) was used to compute vn at points on x = 0 with R < y 5 1

and v, and vuyon x = -1 and x = -2 for 0 y 5 1. Again, the computations were carried out for Problem A as well as for Problem B with R = 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75 and with M = 16, 32, and 64. Here too, the results for the velocity on x = -1 and x = -2 corresponding to M = 16, 32, and 64 differed by absolute amounts of the order or less. The corresponding differences between the v,-values on x = 0 were also small at points not very close to the cylinder, but they increased dramatically in the immediate neighbourhood of C. Thus, for R = 0.75 and y = 0.775 the relative difference between the results for M = 32 and M = 64 was as large as 1.5%. It is not diffi-

If the field point, P,is at a short distance, t, from C, the kernel in (8) contains

cult to explain these larger errors.

a term proportional to t/(tz+ s2), where s is the arclength measured from the point on C which is closest to P. When integrated over an interval [-A, A] this term gives a finite contribution to the integral even for A + 0, if t > 0. It is therefore not surprising that this term is difficult to integrate numerically, when t is comparable with the distance between the nodes on C. On the other hand, since this term reduces to a removable discontinuity when t = 0, it causes no trouble in the integral equation itself. Also, as was just mentioned, the difficulties become serious only when the field point is very close to C. Therefore, with one exception, all the values for v, on x = 0 which are presented in Table 2, agree up to the first 8 decimals or more for M = 32 and 64. The exception is v, at y = 0.875 for R = 0.75; here the value given is the one with M = 64, while the one for M = 32 is 1.1 . lod8larger. In this table, too, values for R = 0.5 are shown for both problems so that the influence of the truncation of the channel can be estimated. For R = 0.5 Table 3 shows v, and vy for Problem A and vy for Problem B at x = -2. From the table we see the size of the difference between the value v, = 1, which is prescribed in Problem B, and the v,-values which occur in the infinite channel. One may note that vy in Problem B is almost exactly twice the one in Problem A. This can be understood by noting that the influence of the cylinder on the flow field can be represented by a system of multi- poles inside C. Therefore, in order that the boundary conditions on x = 52 in Problem B are satisfied, similar systems of multipoles (with the same or opposite signs) must be distributed periodically in the channel. These systems will approximately double the derivative aylax at x = -2 from its value in Problem A.

440 ZAMM . Z. Angew. Math. u. Mech. 66 (1985) 9

Since the flux through every cross-section of the channel must be equal to 3, a simple check of the results is to evaluate the flux by numerical integration of v, over a cross-section. It should be remembered, however, that a flux value found in this way does not only reflect the accuracy of the values found for v, but also that of the qua- drature formula. In Table 4 the flux through one of the gaps between the cylinder and the wall is shown for Pro- blem Afor the same four radii as before. The fluxes were computed by means of 5 and 7-point Lobatto-quadrature formulas [9]. We used Lobatto formulas in order to utilize the fact that our method leads to very correct values at, the end points (y = R and y = 1) of the interval of integration.


The work described in this note was initiated while the author was a guest at the Department of Mathematics, Stanford University. The author wishes to express his sincere gratitude to Julie Damms Studiefond for financial support and to Professor JOSEPHB. KELLERfor his hospitality during the stay. The author is also grateful to Pro- fessor THUGERBTTSK, Numerical Institute, Technical University of Denmark, for discussions on numerical qiiadra- tiirc.

1 MARTIN,H. C., Finite element analysis of fluid flows, Proceedings, Second Conference on Matrix Methods in Structural Mechanics, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Oct. 1968.


2 CHAN,S. T. K.;

pp. 1317-1322. 3 CHUNQ,T. J., Finite element analysis in fluid mechanics, McGraw Hill, New York, 1978, pp. 177-190. 4 PRAMILA,A.; SALONEN,E.-M., A u,v-formulation for ideal fluid flow, Proc. 1st Conference on Numerical Methods in Laminar and Turbulent Flow, Swansea 17 -21 July, 1978, C. TAYLOR,K. MORGAN,and C. A. BREBBIA,Eds., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1978, pp. 971 -982. 6 SALONEN,F,. M.; LEHTONEN,P.; PRAMILA,A., Further u, v-formulations for ideal fluid flow, Proc. 2nd International Conference

on Numerical Methods in Laminar and Turbulent Flow, Venice, 13-16 July, 1981, C. TAYLORand €3. A. SCHREFLER,Eds., Pine- ridge Press, Swansea, 1981, pp. 1185-1196. 6 HAMINA,M.; NEITTAANM~KI,P.; SARANEN,J., A least square FE-method for ideal fluid flow problems, Report 24, Department of Mathematics, University of Jyvaskyla, 1981, 47 pp. 7 NEITTAANMAKI,P.; SARANEN,J., A modified least square FE-method for ideal fluid flow problems, J. of Compiitationnl and Applied Mathematics 8, 1982, pp. 165-169.

8 PATTERSON,C.; SHEIKH,M. A., A higher order boundary element method for fluid flow, Finite Element Flow Anitlysis, Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Finite Element Methods in Flow Problems, Tokyo, Jiily 26-29, 1982, TADAHIKO KAWAI,Ed., North Holland Publ. Co., Amsterdam, 1982, pp. 907-913. 9 STROUD,A. H.; SECREST,D., Gaussian Quadrature Formulas, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1966, p. 318.

LAROCK,B. E., Flow around cylinder between parallel walls, J. Engineering Mechanics Division


Receivrd Jnly 16, 1984 Dr. ERIKR. HANSEN,TAahoratoryof Applied Mathematical Physiczs, Technical Univrrsity of Denmark. DK-2800 Lyngby. Drnmark.