In fluid mechanics, the
(after G. I. Taylor
and Joseph Proudman
) states thatwhen a solid body is moved slowly within a fluid that is steadily rotated with a high , the fluid velocity will beuniform along any line parallel to the axis of rotation. must be large compared to the movement of the solid bodyin order to make the coriolis force large compared to the acceleration terms.That this is so may be seen by considering the Navier
Stokes equations for steady flow, with zero viscosity and abody force corresponding to the Coriolis force, which are:where is the fluid velocity, is the fluid density, and the pressure. If we now make the assumption thatis scalar potential and the advective term may be neglected (reasonable if the Rossby number is muchless than unity) and that the flow is incompressible (density is constant) then the equations become:where the angular velocity vector. If the curl of this equation is taken, the result is the Taylor
Proudman theorem:To derive this, one needs the vector identitiesandand(because the curl of the gradient is always equal to zero). Note that is also needed (angular velocity isdivergence-free).The vector form of the Taylor
Proudman theorem is perhaps better understood by expanding the dot product:Now choose coordinates in which and then the equations reduce toif . Note that the implication is that
components of the velocity vector are uniform along any lineparallel to the z-axis.
The Taylor column is an imaginary cylinder projected above and below a real cylinder that has been placed parallelto the rotation axis (anywhere in the flow, not necessarily in the center). The flow will curve around the imaginarycylinders just like the real due to the Taylor-Proudman theorem, which states that the flow in a rotating,homogenous, inviscid fluid are 2-dimensional in the plane orthogonal to the rotation axis and thus there is novariation in the flow along the axis, often taken to be the axis.The Taylor column is a simplified, experimentally observed effect of what transpires in the Earth's atmospheres andoceans.