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BOUNDARY LAYER FLOW:
APPLICATION TO EXTERNAL FLOW
4.1 Introduction
NavierStokes equations and the energy equation are simplified using the boundary layer
concept.
 Under special conditions certain terms in the equations can be neglected.
 Two key questions:
(1) What are the conditions under which terms in the governing equations can be
dropped?
(2) What terms can be dropped?
4.2 The Boundary Layer Concept: Simplification of the Governing Equations
4.2.1 Qualitative Description
 Consider convection over a semi
infinite plate (Fig. 4.1).
 Under certain conditions the effect of
viscosity is confined to a thin region
near the surface called the velocity or
viscous boundary layer, o .
 Under certain conditions the effect of thermal interaction is confined to a thin region
near the surface called the thermal boundary layer
t
o .
 Conditions for the formation of the two boundary layers:
 Velocity boundary layer conditions:
(1) Slender body
(2) High Reynolds number (Re > 100)
 Thermal boundary layer conditions:
(1) Slender body
(2) High product of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers (Re Pr > 100)
k
L V c
k
c
L V
RePr Pe
p p ·
·
= = = =
µ µ
µ
µ
Number Peclet (4.1)
2
NOTE:
 Fluid velocity at the surface vanishes.
 Large changes in velocity across . o
 Large changes in temperature across .
t
o
 Viscosity plays no role outside . o
4.2.2 The Governing Equations
Assumptions: (1) Steady, (2) twodimensional, (3) laminar, (4) uniform properties, (5) no
dissipation, and (6) no gravity.
Governing equations:
0 =
c
c
+
c
c
y
v
x
u
(2.3)


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
2
2
2
2
1
y
u
x
u
x
p
y
u
v
x
u
u ǎ
µ
(2.10x)


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
2
2
2
2
1
y
v
x
v
y
p
y
v
v
x
v
u ǎ
µ
(2.10y)


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
=


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
2
2
2
2
y
T
x
T
k
y
T
v
x
T
u c
p
µ (2.19)
4.2.3 Mathematical Simplification
 Simplify the above equations based on boundary layer approximations.
4.2.4 Simplification of the Momentum Equations
(i) Intuitive Argument
 Follow the intuitive argument leading to:
2
2
2
2
y
u
x
u
c
c
<<
c
c
(4.2)
and
0 ~
c
c
y
p
(4.3)
Therefore
p ~ p(x)
It follows that
dx
dp
dx
dp
x
p
·
~ ~
c
c
(4.4)
 (2.10x) simplifies to the following boundary layer xmomentum equation
3
2
2
1
y
u
x
dp
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+
c
÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
·
ǎ
µ
(4.5)
(ii) Scale Analysis
 We start by assuming that
1 <<
L
o
(4.6)
 Follow scale analysis leading to equations (4.2)(4.4)
 Follow scale analysis leading to:
L
Re
L
1
~
o
(4.14b)
 (4.14b) shows that (4.6) is valid when . 1 >>
L
Re
 (4.14b) is generalized as
x
Re
x
1
~
o
(4.16)
4.2.5 Simplification of the Energy Equation
 The energy equation for twodimensional constant properties flow is


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
=


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
P
2
2
2
2
y
T
x
T
k
y
T
v
x
T
u c µ (2.19)
 (2.19) is simplified for boundary layer flow using two arguments:
(i) Intuitive Argument
 Follow the intuitive argument leading to:
2
2
2
2
y
T
x
T
c
c
<<
c
c
(4.17)
 (2.19) simplifies to the following boundary layer energy
2
2
y
T
y
T
v
x
T
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
o (4.18)
(ii) Scale Analysis
 We start by assuming that
1 <<
L
t
o
(4.19)
 Follow scale analysis leading to equations (4.17) and (4.18)
 Follow scale analysis for the validity of (4.19). Two cases are considered:
4
Case (1): o o >
t
. Follow the argument leading to:
L
e PrR
L
t
1
~
o
(4.24)
Thus
1 <<
L
t
o
when 1 >>
L
e PrR (4.25)
 The criterion for o o >
t
: Taking the ratio of (4.24) to (4.14b) gives
Pr
t
1
~
o
o
(4.27)
Thus
o o >
t
when 1 << Pr (4.28)
Case (2): o o <
t
. Follow the argument leading to:
L
e R Pr
L
t
1/3
1
~
o
(4.31)
Thus
1 <<
L
t
o
when 1
1/3
>>
L
e R Pr (4.32)
 The criterion for o o <
t
: Taking the ratio of (4.31) to (4.14b)
1/3
1
Pr
t
~
o
o
(4.33)
Thus
o o <
t
when 1
1/3
>> Pr (4.34)
4.3 Summary of Boundary Layer Equations for Steady Laminar Flow
 Review all assumptions leading to the following boundary layer equations:
Continuity:
0 =
c
c
+
c
c
y
v
x
u
(2.3)
xMomentum:
2
2
1
y
u
dx
dp
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+ ÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
·
ǎ
µ
(4.13)
Energy:
2
2
y
T
y
T
v
x
T
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
o (4.18)
Note the following:
 The continuity is not simplified.
5
 Solution to inviscid flow outside the boundary layer gives pressure gradient needed
in (4.13).
 To include buoyancy effect, add [ ) (
·
÷ ÷ T T g  µ ] to (4.13).
4.4 Solutions: External Flow
 For constant properties, velocity distribution is independent of temperature.
 First obtain the flow field solution and then use it to determine temperature
distribution.
4.4.1 Laminar Boundary Layer Flow over Semiinfinite Flat Plate: Uniform Surface
Temperature
The basic problem is shown in Fig. 4.5.
 The plate is at uniform temperature .
s
T
 Upstream temperature is .
·
T
 Apply all the assumptions summarized in
Section 4.3.
 Governing equations: (continuity, momentum, and energy) are given in (2.3), (4.13),
and (4.18).
(i) Velocity Distribution.
Determine:
 Velocity and pressure distribution.
 Boundary layer thickness ) (x o .
 Wall shear ). (x
o
t
(a) Governing equations and boundary conditions
0 =
c
c
+
c
c
y x
u v
(2.3)
2
2
1
y
u
dx
dp
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+ ÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
·
ǎ
µ
(4.13)
The velocity boundary conditions are:
0 ) 0 , ( = x u (4.35a)
0 ) 0 , ( = x v (4.35b)
·
= · V x u ) , ( (4.35c)
·
= V y u ) , 0 ( (4.35d)
(b) Scale analysis: boundary layer thickness, wall shear and friction coefficient.
We showed that
6
x
Re
x
1
~
o
(4.16)
Define Darcy friction coefficient
f
C
2
) 2 / 1 (
·
=
V
C
o
f
µ
t
(4.37a)
Follow scale analysis leading to
x
Re
C
f
1
~ (4.37b)
(c) Blasius solution: similarity method
 Equations (2.3) and (4.13) are solved analytically by Blasius.
 For inviscid flow over flat plate
u = , v = 0, p = = constant (4.38)
·
V
·
p
Thus the pressure gradient is
0 =
·
dx
dp
(4.39)
(4.39) into (4.13)
2
2
y
u
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
ǎ (4.40)
 (2.3) and (4.40) are solved by the method of similarity transformation.
 The basic approach is combining the two independent variables x and y into a single
variable q(x, y) and postulate that u/V
·
depends on q only.
 For this problem the correct form of the transformation variable q is
x
V
y y x
ǎ
·
= ) , ( q (4.41)
 Assume
q d
df
V
u
=
·
(4.42)
 Using (4.41) and (4.42), integration of the continuity gives


.

\

÷ =
· ·
f
d
df
x V V
v
q
q
ǎ
2
1
(4.43)
 Transform all derivatives in terms of f and q , substitute (4.42), (4.43)
0 ) ( 2
2
2
3
3
= +
q
q
q d
f d
f
d
f d
(4.44)
 Boundary conditions (4.35a4.35d) transform to
7
0
) 0 (
=
q d
df
(4.45a)
0 ) 0 ( = f (4.45b)
1
) (
=
·
q d
df
(4.45c)
1
) (
=
·
q d
df
(4.45d)
NOTE:
 The momentum is transformed into
an ordinary differential equation.
Table 4.1
Blasius solution [1]
q
v
=
·
y
V
x
f
·
=
V
u
q d
df
2
2
q d
f d
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.33206
0.4 0.02656 0.13277 0.33147
0.8 0.10611 0.26471 0.32739
1.2 0.23795 0.39378 0.31659
1.6 0.42032 0.51676 0.29667
2.0 0.65003 0.62977 0.26675
 Boundary conditions (4.35c) and
(4.35d) coalesce into a single
condition.
 (4.44) is solved by power series.
The solution is presented in Table
4.1.
 From Table 4.1 we obtain
x
Re
x
2 . 5
=
o
2.4 0.92230 0.72899 0.22809
2.8 1.23099 0.81152 0.18401
3.2 1.56911 0.87609 0.13913
3.6 1.92954 0.92333 0.09809
(4.46)
Scaling gives
x
Re
x
1
~
o
4.0 2.30576 0.95552 0.06424
4.4 2.69238 0.97587 0.03897
4.8 3.08534 0.98779 0.02187
5.0 3.28329 0.99155 0.01591
5.2 3.48189 0.99425 0.01134
5.4 3.68094 0.99616 0.00793
(4.16)
 From Table 4.1 we obtain
x
f
Re
C
664 . 0
=
5.6 3.88031 0.99748 0.00543
6.0 4.27964 0.99898 0.00240
7.0 5.27926 0.99992 0.00022
8.0 6.27923 1.00000 0.00001
(4.48)
Scaling gives
x
Re
C
f
1
~ (4.37b)
(ii) Temperature Distribution.
Determine:
 Temperature distribution.
 Thermal boundary layer thickness
t
o .
 Heat transfer coefficient h(x).
 Nusselt number Nu(x).
(a) Governing equation and boundary conditions
8
2
2
y
T
y
T
v
x
T
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
o (4.18)
The boundary conditions are:
s
T x T = ) 0 , ( (4.49a)
·
= · T x T ) , ( (4.49b)
·
= T y T ) , 0 ( (4.49c)
(b) Scale analysis: Thermal boundary layer thickness, heat transfer coefficient and
Nusselt number
 Return to the results of Section 4.2.5:
Case (1): o o >
t
(Pr <<1)
x
e PrR
x
t
1
~
o
(4.50)
Case (2): o o <
t
(Pr >>1)
x
e R Pr
x
t
1/3
1
~
o
(4.51)
 Scale analysis for h. Begin with
·
÷
c
c
÷ =
T T
y
x T
k h
s
) 0 , (
(1.10)
Using the scales, the above gives
t
k
h
o
~ (4.52)
Case (1): o o >
t
(Pr <<1). Substituting (4.50) into (4.52)
x
e PrR
x
k
h ~ , for Pr <<1 (4.53)
Defining the local Nusselt number as
x
Nu
k
hx
Nu
x
= (4.54)
Substituting (4.53) into (4.54)
x
e R Pr Nu
x
1/2
~ , for Pr <<1 (4.55)
Case (2): o o <<
t
(Pr >>1). Substituting (4.51) into (4.52)
x
e R Pr
x
k
h
1/3
~ , for Pr >>1 (4.56)
The corresponding Nusselt number is
9
x
e R Pr Nu
x
1/3
~ , for Pr >>1 (4.57)
(c) Pohlhausen’s solution: Temperature distribution, thermal boundary layer
thickness, heat transfer coefficient, and Nusselt number
 Equation (4.18) is solved analytically by Pohlhausen using similarity transformation.
Define
s
s
T T
T T
÷
÷
=
·
u (4.58)
(4.58) into (4.18)
2
2
y
y
v
x
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c u
o
u u
(4.59)
Boundary conditions (4.49) become
0 ) 0 , ( = x u (4.60a)
1 ) , ( = · x u (4.60b)
1 ) , 0 ( = y u (4.60c)
Combine x and y into a single variable q(x, y) given by
x
V
y y x
ǎ
·
= ) , ( q (4.41)
Assume
) ( ) , ( q u u = y x
Velocity components u and v in (4.59) are given by Blasius solution
q d
df
V
u
=
·
(4.42)


.

\

÷ =
· ·
f
d
df
x V V
v
q
q
ǎ
2
1
(4.43)
(4.41)(4.43) into (4.59)
0 ) (
2
2
2
= +
q
u
q
q
u
d
d
f
Pr
d
d
(4.61)
Using (4.41), the three boundary conditions (4.60a4.60c) transform to
0 ) 0 ( = u (4.62a)
1 ) ( = · u (4.62b)
1 ) ( = · u (4.62c)
Integration details of (4.61) are found in Appendix B. The temperature solution is
10
)
)
·
·
(
¸
(
¸
(
¸
(
¸
÷ =
0
2
2
2
2
)
1 ) (
q
q
q
q
q u
q
d
d
f d
d
d
f d
Pr
Pr
(4.63)
 Surface temperature gradient is
 
)
·
(
¸
(
¸
=
q
q
q
q
u
d
d
f d
d
d
Pr
Pr
2
2
332 . 0 ) 0 (
t
(4.64)
 The integrals in (4.63) and (4.64)
are evaluated numerically.
 Boundary layer thickness o is
determined from Fig. 4.6. The
edge of the thermal layer is
defined as the distance y where
. This corresponds to
·
~ T T
0 . 1
6 . 0
4 . 0
2 . 0
2 4 6 8 12 14 10
01 . 0 = Pr
1 . 0
) ( 7 . 0 air 1 10
100
0
8 . 0
x V y v q
·
=
s
s
T T
T T
÷
÷
·
ature for temper solution s ' Pohlhausen 4.6 Fig.
a over flow laminar for on distributi
plate flat isothermal infinte  semi
1 ~
÷
÷
=
· s
s
T T
T T
u , at
t
y o = (4.65)
The heat transfer coefficient h is determined using equation (1.10)
·
÷
c
c
÷ =
T T
y
x T
k h
s
) 0 , (
(1.10)
Using (4.41) and (4.58) into the above
q
u
d
d
x
V
k x h
) 0 (
) (
ǎ
·
= (4.66)
Average heat transfer coefficient
)
=
L
dx x h h
L
0
) (
1
(2.50)
Substituting (4.66) into (2.50) and integrating
q
u
d
d
Re
L
k
h
L
) 0 (
2 = (4.67)
The local Nusselt number is obtained by substituting (4.66) into (4.54)
11
x x
Re
d
d
Nu
q
u ) 0 (
= (4.68)
The corresponding average Nusselt number is
L L
Re
d
d
Nu
q
u ) 0 (
2 = (4.69)
Table 4.2 gives q u d d / ) 0 ( for various values of Pr.
2 / 1
564 . 0
) 0 (
Pr
d
d
=
q
u
, Pr < 0.05 (4.71a)
3 / 1
332 . 0
) 0 (
Pr
d
d
=
q
u
, 0.6 < Pr < 10 (4.71b)
3 / 1
339 . 0
) 0 (
Pr
d
d
=
q
u
, Pr >10 (4.71c)
4.4.2 Applications: Blasius Solution, Pohlhausen’s Solution, and Scaling
 Review Examples 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3. They illustrate the application of Blasius
solution, Pohlhausen’s solution, and scaling to the solution of convection problems.
4.4.3 Laminar Boundary Layer Flow over Semiinfinite Flat Plate: Variable Surface
Temperature
Table 4.2
Pr
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
0.001 0.0173
0.01 0.0516
0.1 0.140
0.5 0.259
0.7 0.292
1.0 0.332
7.0 0.645
10.0 0.730
15.0 0.835
50 1.247
100 1.572
1000 3.387
 Surface temperature varies with axial
distance x according to
n
Cx T x T
s
= ÷
·
) ( (4.74)
 Assumptions: see Section 4.3.
(i) Velocity Distribution. Blasius flow field solution is applicable to this case:
q d
df
V
u
=
·
(4.42)


.

\

÷ =
· ·
f
d
df
x V V
v
q
q
ǎ
2
1
(4.43)
where the similarity variableq is defined as
12
x
V
y y x
ǎ
·
= ) , ( q (4.41)
(ii) Governing Equations for Temperature Distribution. Based on the assumptions
listed in Section 4.3, temperature is governed by energy equation (4.18)
2
2
y
T
y
T
v
x
T
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
o (4.18)
The boundary conditions for this problem are:
n
Cx T T x T
s
+ = =
·
) 0 , ( (a)
·
= · T x T ) , ( (b)
·
= T y T ) , 0 ( (c)
(iii) Solution. Define u as
s
s
T T
T T
÷
÷
=
·
u (4.58)
Assume
) ( ) , ( q u u = y x (4.75)
Using (4.41)(4.43), (4.58), (4.74) and (4.75), energy equation (4.18) transforms to (see
Appendix C for details)
0 ) (
2
) 1 (
2
2
= + ÷ +
q
u
q u
q
q
u
d
d
f
Pr
d
df
Pr n
d
d
(4.76)
Boundary conditions (a)(c) become
0 ) 0 ( = u (4.77a)
1 ) ( = · u (4.77b)
1 ) ( = · u (4.77c)
Local heat transfer coefficient and Nusselt number are determined using (1.10)
·
÷
c
c
÷ =
T T
y
x T
k h
s
) 0 , (
(1.10)
Using (4.41), (4.58) and (4.72) into the above
q
u
d
d
x
V
Cx
y
x T
n
) 0 ( ) 0 , (
ǎ
·
÷ =
c
c
Substituting into (1.10)
q
u
d
d
x
V
k x h
) 0 (
) (
ǎ
·
= (4.78)
The average heat transfer coefficient for a plate of length L is defined in equation (2.50)
13
)
=
L
dx x h h
L
0
) (
1
(2.50)
(4.78) into (2.50)
q
u
d
d
Re
L
k
h
L
) 0 (
2 = (4.79)
(4.78) into (4.54) gives the local Nusselt number
x x
Re
d
d
Nu
q
u ) 0 (
= (4.80)
The corresponding average Nusselt number is
L L
Re
d
d
Nu
q
u ) 0 (
2 = (4. 81)
 Key factor: surface temperature gradient . / ) 0 ( q u d d
(iv) Results. (4.76) is solved
numerically subject to boundary
conditions (4.77). Fig. 4.8 gives
q u d d / ) 0 ( for three Prandtl numbers.
0 1.0 0.5 1.5
1.0
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
0.7 = Pr
n
10
30
2.0
] 4 [
n
s
Cx T T = ÷
·
re, temperatu surface ing with vary plate for
(0)
q
u
d
d
Fig.4.8
4.4.4 Laminar Boundary Layer Flow over a Wedge: Uniform Surface Temperature
 Assumptions: listed in Section 4.3.
 xmomentum equation:
2
2
1
y
u
dx
dp
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+ ÷ =
c
c
+
c
c
·
ǎ
µ
·
m
Cx x V =
·
) (
(4.13)
 Inviscid flow solution for V is ) (x
(4.82)
C is a constant and is defined as m
14


÷
=
2
m (4.83)
Application of (4.13) to the inviscid flow outside the viscous boundary layer, gives
x
V
V
dx
dp
c
c
= ÷
·
·
·
µ
1
Substituting into (4.13)
2
2
y
u
x
V
V
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
·
·
ǎ (4.84)
The boundary conditions are
0 ) 0 , ( = x u (4.85a)
0 ) 0 , ( = x v (4.85b)
m
Cx x V x u = = ·
·
) ( ) , ( (4.85c)
Solution to the velocity distribution is obtained by the method of similarity. Define q as
2 / ) 1 (
) (
) , (
÷ ·
= =
m
x
C
y
x
x V
y y x
ǎ ǎ
q (4.86)
Assume
q d
dF
x V
u
=
·
) (
(4.87)
Continuity equation (2.3), (4.86), and (4.87) give the vertical velocity component v
(
¸
(
¸
+
÷
÷
+
÷ =
·
·
q
q
d
dF
m
m
F
m
x xV
x V v
1
1
2
1
) (
) (
ǎ
(4.88)
(4.82) and (4.86)(4.88) into (4.84)
0
2
1
2
2
2
3
3
= +
(
¸
(
¸
÷
+
+ m
d
dF
m
d
F d
F
m
d
F d
q
q q
(4.89)
This is the transformed momentum equation. Boundary conditions (4.85) transform to
0
) 0 (
=
q d
dF
(4.90a)
0 ) 0 ( = F (4.90b)
1
) (
=
·
q d
dF
(4.90c)
 Solution. (4.89) is integrated numerically. The solution gives ) (q F and . / q d dF
These in turn give the velocity components u and v.
 Temperature distribution. Start with the energy
15
2
2
y
y
v
x
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c u
o
u u
(4.59)
Boundary conditions
0 ) 0 , ( = x u (4.60a)
1 ) , ( = · x u (4.60b)
1 ) , 0 ( = y u (4.60c)
Where u is defined as
s
s
T T
T T
÷
÷
=
·
u (4.58)
Assume
) (q u u = (4.75)
q is defined in (4.86). (4.86)(4.88) and (4.75) into (4.59) and (4.60)
0 ) ( ) 1 (
2
2
2
= + +
q
u
q
q
u
d
d
F m
Pr
d
d
(4.91)
0 ) 0 ( = u (4.92a)
1 ) ( = · u (4.92b)
1 ) ( = · u (4.92c)
 Solution. Separating variables in (4.91), integrating twice and applying boundary
conditions (4.92), gives the temperature solution as
q q q
q q q
q u
q
q
q
d d F
Pr
d d F
Pr
) )
) )
·
·
(
¸
(
¸
+
÷
(
¸
(
¸
+
÷
÷ =
0
0
0
) (
2
1) (m
exp
) (
2
1) (m
exp
1 ) (
(4.93)
(4.93) gives the temperature gradient at the surface
1
0
0
) (
2
1) (m
exp
) 0 (
÷
·
¦
)
¦
`
¹
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
(
¸
(
¸
+
÷ =
) )
q q q
q
u
q
d d F
Pr
d
d
(4.94)
 The integrals in (4.93) and (4.94) are evaluated numerically.
 Results for q u d d / ) 0 ( are given in Table 4.3
16
Table 4.3 Surface temperature gradient
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
and surface velocity
gradient ) 0 ( F ' ' for flow over an isothermal wedge
q u d d / ) 0 ( at five values of Pr
m wedge angle t
(0) F ' '
0.7 0.8 1.0 5.0 10.0
0 0 0.3206 0.292 0.307 0.332 0.585 0.730
0.111 5 / t (36
o
)
0.5120 0.331 0.348 0.378 0.669 0.851
0.333 2 / t (90
o
)
0.7575 0.384 0.403 0.440 0.792 1.013
1.0 t (180
o
)
1.2326 0.496 0.523 0.570 1.043 1.344
 Heat transfer coefficient h and Nusselt number Equation (1.10) gives h . Nu
·
÷
c
c
÷ =
T T
y
x T
k h
s
) 0 , (
(1.10)
Using (4.58), (4.75) and (4.86) into (1.10) gives
q
u
d
d
x
x V
k x h
) 0 ( ) (
) (
ǎ
·
= (4.95)
(4.95) into (4.54) gives the Nusselt number
x x
Re
d
d
Nu
q
u ) 0 (
= (4.96)
where is the local Reynolds number defined as
x
Re
ǎ
) (x xV
Re
x
·
= (4.97)
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