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Divergence

Physical meaning of divergence


Physical significance of divergence

Significance of divergence of a vector

field Physical Interpretation of the Divergence

In vector calculus, divergence is a vector

operator that measures the magnitude of a vector field's source or sink at a given point, in terms of a signed scalar. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around a given point.

In physical terms, the divergence of a three

dimensional vector field is the extent to which the vector field flow behaves like a source or a sink at a given point. It is a local measure of its "outgoingness"the extent to which there is more exiting an infinitesimal region of space than entering it. If the divergence is nonzero at some point then there must be a source or sink at that position.

Let x, y, z be a system of Cartesian

coordinates in 3-dimensional Euclidean space, and let i, j, k be the corresponding basis of unit vectors. The divergence of a continuously differentiable vector field F = U i + V j + W k is equal to the scalar-valued function:
U V W divF .F x y z

The divergence is a linear operator.


The divergence of the curl of any vector field

(in three dimensions) is equal to zero. There is a product rule of the following type: if is a scalar valued function and F is a vector field, then

div(F ) grad ( ).F div( F )

In the context of fluid mechanics, where a given vector field is interpreted as a model of a fluid, with the vector value at a given point being the velocity of the fluid particle at that point, curl and divergence are used to express notions of rotation compression of a fluid, respectively.

If the divergence is positive at a point, it means that, overall, that the tendency is for fluid to move away from that point (expansion); if the divergence is negative, then the fluid is tending to move towards that point (compression).

Divergence is a vector operator that measures the magnitude of a vector fields source or sink at a given point , in terms of a signed scalar. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around a given point.

Consider air as it is heated or cooled. The relevant vector field for this example is the velocity of the moving air at a point. If air is heated in a region it will expand in all directions such that the velocity field points outward from that region. Therefore the divergence of the velocity field in that region would have a positive value, as the region is a source. If the air cools and contracts, the divergence is negative and the region is called a sink.

Divergence of a vector field A is a measure of how much a vector field converges to or diverges from a given point. In simple terms it is a measure of the outgoingness of a vector field.

Divergence of a vector field is positive if the vector diverges or spread out from a given point called source- Divergence of a vector field is negative if the vector field converges at that point called sink. .If just as much of the vector field points in as out, the divergence will be approximately zero.

The divergence measures how much a vector field ``spreads out'' or diverges from a given point. For example, the figure on the left has positive divergence at P, since the vectors of the vector field are all spreading as they move away from P.

The field on the right has negative divergence since the vectors are coming closer together instead of spreading out. The figure in the center has zero divergence everywhere since the vectors are not spreading out at all. This is easy to compute also, since the vector field is constant everywhere and the derivative of a constant is zero.