You are on page 1of 43


Class 15

Circulation and Vorticity:

Two primary measures of rotation
in a fluid
The presentation illustrates the
concepts of vorticity and
circulation, and shows how these
concepts can be useful in
understanding fluid flows.

Vorticity: The tendency to spin about an

axis; Microscopic measure of rotation at
any point in the fluid
The vorticity is defined as the curl of the
velocity vector:


Thus each point in the fluid has an

associated vector vorticity, and the
whole fluid space may be thought of as being
threaded by vortex lines which are everywhere
tangent to the local vorticity vector.

These vortex lines represent the

local axis of spin of the fluid
particle at each point.
In two dimensions, the vorticity is
the sum of the angular velocities
of any pair of mutuallyperpendicular, infinitesimal fluid
lines passing through the point in

For rigid (unbending) body rotation,

every line perpendicular to the axis
of rotation has the same angular
velocity: therefore the vorticity is
the same at every point, and is
twice the angular velocity.
Vorticity is related to the moment of
momentum of a small spherical fluid
particle about its own center of mass.

Inphysics,angular momentum,moment
of momentum, orrotational momentum
is avector quantity that represents the
product of a body'srotational inertia
androtational velocityabout a
particular axis.
The angular momentum of a system of
particles (e.g. a rigid body) is the sum
of angular moments of the individual

For arigid bodyrotating around an axis of

symmetry (e.g. the blades of a ceiling fan), the
angular momentum can be expressed as the
product of the body'smoment of inertia,(I), (i.e.
a measure of an object's resistance to changes in
its rotation rate) and itsangular velocity:

In this way, angular momentum is
sometimes described as the rotational
analog oflinear momentum.

For the case of an object that is small

compared with the radial distance to its
axis of rotation (planet orbiting in a circle
around theSun), the angular
momentum can be expressed as its
linear momentum,(mv), crossed by its
positionfrom the origin,(r). Thus, the
angular momentum(L)of a particle
with respect to some point of origin is:

r x mv

Angular momentum is
conservedin a system where
there is no net external
torque, and its conservation
helps explain many diverse
(various) phenomenas.

The conservation of angular momentum

is used extensively in analyzing what is
calledcentral force motion.
If the net force on some body is directed
always toward some fixed point,
thecenter, then there is no torque on
the body with respect to the center, and
so the angular momentum of the body
about the center is constant.

The conservation of angular momentum

explains the angular acceleration of an ice
skater as she brings her arms and legs
close to the vertical axis of rotation.
By bringing part of mass of her body closer
to the axis she decreases her body's
moment of inertia.
Because angular momentum is constant in
the absence of external torques, the
angular velocity (rotational speed) of the
skater has to increase.

An example of
angular momentum
conservation: A
spinning figure
skater reduces
moment of inerti
by pulling in her
arms, causing
her rotation rate
to increase.

The angular momentum of a particle of mass (m)

with respect to a chosen origin is given by
L = mvr sin
or more formally by thevector product
The direction is given by theright hand rule
which would give (L) the direction out of the
diagram. For an orbit, angular momentum is
conserved, and this leads to one of
Kepler's laws. For a circular orbit, (L ) becomes
L = mvr

Inastronomy,Kepler's laws of planetary

motionare threescientific lawsdescribing
orbital motion, each giving a description of the
motionofplanetsaround theSun.
Kepler's laws are:
Theorbitof everyplanetis anellipsewith the
Sun at one of the twofoci(crucial, important)
Alinejoining a planet and the Sun sweeps out
equalareasduring equal intervals of time.
Thesquareof theorbital periodof a planet is
directlyproportionalto thecubeof the
semi-major axis of its orbit.

(1) The orbits are ellipses, with focal

points1and2for the first planet
and1and3for the second planet. The
Sun is placed in focal point1.
(2) The two shaded
sectorsA1andA2have the same surface
area and the time for planet 1 to cover
segmentA1is equal to the time to cover
(3) The total orbit times for planet 1 and
planet 2 have a ratio a13/2:a23/2.

The angular momentum of a rigid object is

defined as the product of the
moment of inertiaand the angular velocity.
It is analogous tolinear momentumand is
subject to the fundamental constraints of
theconservation of angular momentum
principle if there is no externaltorqueon
the object.
Angular momentum is avector quantity. It
is derivable from the expression for the
angular momentum of a particle

Angular momentumand linear

momentum are examples of the
parallelsbetween linear and
rotational motion.
They have the same form and are
subject to the fundamental
constraints ofconservation laws, the
conservation of momentumand
theconservation of angular momentum.

Sometimes the word ''rotation" is

used as a synonym for vorticity,
but this does not mean that a flow
has to be curved for vorticity to be
For instance, picture below shows
water flowing in a straight

The streamlines are essentially

straight and parallel to the side wall.
But the rotation of the arrow shows
that vertical vorticity is present.
Near the wall is a viscous boundary
layer in which the velocity increases
with distance from the wall

Examine the fluid cross:

One leg moves downstream
parallel to the wall while the other
leg rotates counterclockwise owing
to the non-uniform velocity
Thus there is a net vorticity, and
the vorticity meter turns

On the other hand, the flow may be

without rotation even though the
streamlines are curved.
Fig. below shows in plan view a tank for
producing a sink vortex in which the
streamlines are tight spirals and nearly

As shown in Fig.
the vorticity
meter moves in
a circular path
but does not
rotate. It moves
in pure
would a
compass needle

Consider a fluid cross at a point on

a circular streamline (Fig. below).
Leg A follows the streamline,
hence it rotates counterclockwise.
Since the angular momentum of the
fluid is conserved as it flows toward the
drain, the tangential velocity varies
inversely with the radius.

Thus the velocity of the inner part of

leg B is greater than the velocity of the
outer part, and leg B turns clockwise.
The clockwise turning rate of B is just
equal and opposite to the
counterclockwise turning rate of A.
Hence the vorticity is zero.
The vorticity meter, in averaging the
rotations of legs A and B, translates, without
rotation, on a circular trajectory

Crocco's theorem is afluid

dynamicstheorem relating
thevelocity,vorticity, andstagnation
pressure(orentropy) of apotential flow.
Because stagnation pressure loss,
there are three popular forms for
writing Crocco's theorem:
1) Stagnation pressure:

V x = 1/ p

Because stagnation pressure loss and

entropy generation can be viewed as
essentially the same thing
2) Entropy:

2) quantity of movement:

(V) -is velocity,() isvorticity,() - is density,(p) -is

stagnation pressure,(T) - is
temperature, (s) - is entropy, and (n) is the direction normal to the

For the special case of steady motion of

an incompressible, inviscid fluid acted
on by conservative body forces,
Crocco's theorem has the form
V x =1/ x p
= p + V + U
where (V) is the vector velocity, () the
vector vorticity, () the density, and
(p) gradient of stagnation pressure.

The stagnation pressure (p), is the sum of

the static pressure (p), the dynamic
pressure (V/2), and the potential energy
per unit volume ( U) associated with the
conservative body-force field.
Influid dynamics,stagnation pressure(ortotal
pressure) is thestatic pressureat astagnation
pointin a fluid flow (in stagnation point the fluid
velocity is zero and all kinetic energy has been
converted into pressure energy).
Stagnation pressure is equal to the sum of
the free-streamdynamic pressureand freestream static pressure

When a flow is two-dimensional in the plane

of the paper, the vorticity vector is normal to
the paper while the velocity vector lies in
the paper and along the streamline (Fig.
By Crocco's theorem, the gradient of
stagnation pressure is normal to both the
velocity vector and the vorticity vector; thus
it lies in the plane of the paper and normal
to V.
Consequently the stagnation pressure, (p ),
is constant along each streamline and
varies between streamlines only if vorticity
is present.

To illustrate, consider
again the straight
boundary layer of Fig.
The static pressure
is uniform across
the boundary layer
but the velocity is
variable. Thus the
stagnation pressure
is variable, and,
vorticity is present.

The velocity gradient is strongest near

the wall and so is the gradient of
stagnation pressure. Wben the
vorticity meter is near the wall, the rate
of spin is relatively large. With the
vorticity meter farther out in the
boundary layer, the rate of spin is