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Theory for all the Single-Phase Flow Interfaces

The single-phase fluid-flow interfaces are based on the Navier-Stokes equations, which in their
most general form read

Equation 4-5 is the continuity equation and represents the conservation of mass. Equation 4-6 is
a vector equation and represents the conservation of momentum. Equation 4-7 describes the
conservation of energy, formulated in terms of temperature. This is an intuitive formulation that
facilities specification of boundary conditions.

3.1.1

The Continuity Equation

Figure 1 Finite control volume fixed in space (Jiyuan, Yeoh and Liu 2008)

Mass Conservation
By the conservation of mass, matter cannot be created or destroyed. Figure shows an arbitrary
control volume V fixed in space and time. A fluid is considered to be moving through the fixed
control volume and flows across the control surface. For mass conservation, the rate of change of
mass within the control volume is equivalent to the mass flux crossing the surface S of volume V.

Equation 3.1 shows the mass conservation in integral form where

is the unit normal vector.

d
dV V ndS
dt V
S
[3.1]
By Gausss divergence theorem, the volume integral of a divergence of a vector is equated to an
area integral over the surface that defines the volume. This is shown in equation 3.2.

d
divV dV V ndS
dt V
S
[3.2]

The surface integral of equation 3.1 can be replaced by the volume integral of equation 3.2. This
gives

( V ) dV 0
t

[3.3]

( V ) divV
where

Recall:

We define the operator

(pronounced del) by

j k
x
y
z

We define the divergence of a vector field F, written divF or

P, Q, R
with F. So if F =

, then


P Q R
, ,
P , Q, R

x y z
x y z

divF =
Notice that divF is a scalar.
Equation 3.3 is valid for any size of volume V. This implies that

, as the dot product of del


( V ) 0
t

[3.4]

is the fluid velocity which can be described by the local velocity Cartesian components u, v

and w. The local velocity components are functions of location (x, y, z) and time (t).
Equation 3.4 is the mass conservation equation for fluid flow which for a Cartesian coordinate
system can be expressed as

u v w

0
t
x
y
z
[3.5]
Expanding equation 3.5 using the chain rule and grouping the density terms gives

u v w

0
u
v
w

t
x
y
z
x y z

Or

D / Dt

u v w
D
0


Dt
x y z

[3.6]

[3.7]

D / Dt
is the substantial derivative in Cartesian coordinates.

is the time rate of change

of density following a moving fluid element (Jiyuan, Yeoh and Liu 2008, 65-66).

3.1.2

The Momentum Equation

Force Balance

For a general variable property per unit mass denoted as

, the substantial derivative of

with

respect to time is given by

u
v
w
Dt
t
x
y
z
[3.8]

Equation 3.8 defines the rate of change of the variable property

per unit mass. To obtain the

rate of change of the variable property

per unit volume, the substantial derivative of

is

multiplied by the density .

u
v
w
Dt
t
x
y
z
[3.9]

Equation 3.9 represents the non-conservation form of the rate of change of the variable property

per unit volume.

Figure 2 Surface forces acting on the infinitesimal control volume for the velocity
component u. Deformed fluid element due to the action of the surface forces
(Jiyuan, Yeoh and Liu 2008)

Figure 14 shows an infinitesimal control volume fluid element. The sum of the forces acting on
the fluid element, by Newtons second law of motion, is equal to the product of its mass and
acceleration. Newtons second law can be applied along the x, y and z directions. The x
component of Newtons second law is given by

ma x
[3.10]

Fx and ax are the force and acceleration along the x direction. The acceleration ax is the time rate
change of u, given by its substantial derivative. Thus,

ax

Du
Dt

[3.11]

xyz
The mass of the fluid element, m is

. Therefore, the rate of increase of x-momentum is


Du
xyz
Dt

[3.12]

The force on a moving fluid element is due to two sources, body forces and surface forces. The
various forms of body forces that may affect the rate of change of fluid momentum include
gravity, centrifugal, Coriolis and electromagnetic forces.
Figure 14 shows that the surface forces for the velocity component u, that cause deformation of

yx

xx
the fluid element are due to the normal stress

and tangential stresses

zx
and

acting on the

surfaces of the fluid element.


Substituting the sum of the surface forces on the fluid element and the time rate change of u from
equation 3.12 into equation 3.10, the x-momentum equation becomes

Du xx yx zx

Fxbody
Dt
x
y
z

forces

[3.13]
Similarly, the y-momentum and z-momentum equations are

Dv xy yy zy

Fybody
Dt
x
y
z

forces

[3.14]

Dw xz yz zz

Fzbody
Dt
x
y
z

forces

[3.15]

xx yy
zz
The normal stresses
,
and
are due to the pressure p and normal viscous stress

xx yy
zz
components
,
and acting perpendicular to the control volume. The remaining terms
contain the tangential viscous stress components. In many fluid flows, a suitable model for the
viscous stresses is introduced. They are usually a function of the local deformation rate (or strain
rate) that is expressed in terms of the velocity gradients (Jiyuan, Yeoh and Liu 2008, 75-78).

To close the equation system Equation 4-5 through Equation 4-7, some constitutive relations are
needed. A common relation is derived by assuming that the fluid is Newtonian. Together with
Stokes assumption, the viscous stress tensor becomes:

The dynamic viscosity

(SI unit: Pas) is allowed to depend on the thermodynamic state but not

on the velocity field. All gases and many liquids can be considered Newtonian. Examples of nonNewtonian fluids are honey, mud, blood, liquid metals, and most polymer solutions. For
modeling of flows of non-Newtonian fluids, use the Non-Newtonian Flow interface (see NonNewtonian Flow). All other fluid-flow interfaces use stress tensors based on Equation 4-9.

3.1.3

Navier-Stokes Equation

A three dimensional case of constant property fluid flow will be considered. Constant property
fluid flow implies that the density is constant and body forces, particularly due to gravity are not
considered in the equations.
By applying the continuity equation and including the stress-strain relationships, the momentum
equations can be reduced to following.

x direction

[3.16]
y direction
v
v
v
v
1 p
2v
2v
2v
u v w
2 2 2
t
x
y
z
y
x
y
z
[3.17]
z direction
w
w
w
w
1 p
2w
2w
2w
u
v
w

2 2 2
t
x
y
z
z
x
y
z
[3.18]
Equations 3.16 to 3.18 derived from Newtons second law, where v is the kinematic viscosity (v
= / ) describe the conservation of momentum in the fluid flow and is also known as the
Navier-Stokes equations (Jiyuan, Yeoh and Liu 2008,77-78).
The single-phase fluid low user interfaces in COMSOL Multiphysics are based on the NavierStokes equations. The Navier-Stokes equations solved by default in all the single phase flow
interfaces are the compressible formulation of continuity (equation 3.4) and the momentum
equations (equations 3.13 to 3.15). (COMSOL 2013, 83-87)