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# Homework 1

Solution. 1
Step. Differential equation from shell momentum balance
For a plane narrow slit, the natural choice is rectangular Cartesian coordinates. Since the fluid
flow is in the z-direction, vx = 0, vy = 0, and only vz exists. Further, vz is independent of z and it is
meaningful to postulate that velocity vz = vz(x) and pressure p = p(z). The only nonvanishing
components of the stress tensor are xz = zx, which depend only on x.
Consider now a thin rectangular slab (shell) perpendicular to the x-direction extending a distance
W in the y-direction and a distance L in the z-direction. A 'rate of z-momentum' balance over this
thin shell of thickness x in the fluid is of the form:
Rate of z-momentum

## In Out + Generation = Accumulation

At steady-state, the accumulation term is zero. Momentum can go 'in' and 'out' of the shell by
both the convective and molecular mechanisms. Since vz(x) is the same at both ends of the slit,
the convective terms cancel out because ( vz vz W x)|z = 0 = ( vz vz W x)|z = L. Only the
molecular term (L W xz ) remains to be considered. Generation of z-momentum occurs by the
pressure force (p W x) and gravity force ( g W L x). On substituting these contributions into
the z-momentum balance, we get
(L W xz ) | x (L W xz ) | x+x+ ( p 0 p L ) W x + g W L x = 0

(1)

## Dividing the above equation by L W x yields

xz| x+x xz| x

p0 pL + g L
=

(2)
L

On taking the limit as x 0, the left-hand side of the above equation is the definition of the
derivative. The right-hand side may be compactly and conveniently written by introducing the
modified pressure P, which is the sum of the pressure and gravitational terms. The general
definition of the modified pressure is P = p + g h , where h is the distance upward (in the
direction opposed to gravity) from a reference plane of choice. Since the z-axis points downward
in this problem, h = z and therefore P = p g z . Thus, P0 = p0 at z = 0 and PL = pL g
L at z = L giving p0 pL + g L = P0 PL P. Thus, equation (2) gives

Homework 1
P

dxz
=

(3)

dx

Equation (3) on integration leads to the following expression for the shear stress distribution:
P
xz =

x + C1

(4)

## The constant of integration C1 is determined later using boundary conditions.

It is worth noting that equations (3) and (4) apply to both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids,
and provide starting points for many fluid flow problems in rectangular Cartesian coordinates
Step. Shear stress distribution and velocity profile
Substituting Newton's law of viscosity for xz in equation (4) gives
P

dvz

=
dx

x + C1

(5)

The above first-order differential equation is simply integrated to obtain the following velocity
profile:
P
x2

vz =
2L

C1
x + C2

## The no-slip boundary conditions at the two fixed walls are

BC 1: at x = B, vz = 0

BC 2: at x = B,

(6)

vz = 0

(7)

(8)

Homework 1
Using these, the integration constants may be evaluated as C1 = 0 and C2 = P B2 / (2 L). On
substituting C1 = 0 in equation (4), the final expression for the shear stress (or momentum flux)
distribution is found to be linear as given by
P
xz =

(9)

x
L

Further, substitution of the integration constants into equation (6) gives the final expression for
the velocity profile as
P B 2
vz =

x 2

1
B
2L

(10)

It is observed that the velocity distribution for laminar, incompressible flow of a Newtonian fluid
in a plane narrow slit is parabolic.
b)
Step. Maximum velocity, average velocity and mass flow rate
From the velocity profile, various useful quantities may be derived.
(i) The maximum velocity occurs at x = 0 (where dvz/dx = 0). Therefore,
P B2
vz,max = vz| x = 0 =

(11)
2L

(ii) The average velocity is obtained by dividing the volumetric flow rate by the cross-sectional
area as shown below.
B

vz,avg =
B

vz W dx
B

W dx

1 B
P B2
2
=

=
= vz,max
v dx
2B B z
3L
3

(12)

Thus, the ratio of the average velocity to the maximum velocity for Newtonian fluid flow in a
narrow slit is 2/3.

Homework 1
(iii) The mass rate of flow is obtained by integrating the velocity profile over the cross section of
the slit as follows.

w =

B
vz W dx = W (2 B) vz,avg
B

(13)

Thus, the mass flow rate is the product of the density , the cross-sectional area (2 B W) and the
average velocity vz,avg. On substituting vz,avg from equation (12), the final expression for the mass
rate of flow is
2 P B3 W
(14)

w =
3L

The flow rate vs. pressure drop (w vs. P) expression above is the slit analog of the HagenPoiseuille equation (originally for circular tubes). It is a result worth noting because it provides
the starting point for creeping flow in many systems (e.g., radial flow between two parallel
circular disks; and flow between two stationary concentric spheres).
Finally, it may be noted that the above analysis is valid when B << W. If the slit thickness B is of
the same order of magnitude as the slit width W, then vz = vz (x, y), i.e., vz is not a function of
only x. If W = 2B, then a solution can be obtained for flow in a square duct.

Homework 1

Solution. 2
a)
Flow in pipes occurs in a large variety of situations in the real world and is studied in various
engineering disciplines as well as in physics, chemistry, and biology.
Step. Differential equation from shell momentum balance
For a circular tube, the natural choice is cylindrical coordinates. Since the fluid flow is in the zdirection, vr = 0, v = 0, and only vz exists. Further, vz is independent of z and it is meaningful to
postulate that velocity vz = vz(r) and pressure p = p(z). The only nonvanishing components of the
stress tensor are rz = zr, which depend only on r.
Consider now a thin cylindrical shell perpendicular to the radial direction and of length L. A 'rate
of z-momentum' balance over this thin shell of thickness r in the fluid is of the form:
Rate of z-momentum

## In Out + Generation = Accumulation

At steady-state, the accumulation term is zero. Momentum can go 'in' and 'out' of the shell by
both the convective and molecular mechanisms. Since vz(r) is the same at both ends of the tube,
the convective terms cancel out because ( vz vz 2r r)|z = 0 = ( vz vz 2r r)|z = L. Only the
molecular term (2r L rz ) remains to be considered, whose 'in' and 'out' directions are taken in
the positive direction of the r-axis. Generation of z-momentum occurs by the pressure force
acting on the surface [p 2r r] and gravity force acting on the volume [( g cos ) 2r r L]. On
substituting these contributions into the z-momentum balance, we get
(2r L rz ) | r (2r L rz ) | r + r+ ( p 0 p L ) 2r r + ( g cos ) 2r r L = 0

(1)

## Dividing the above equation by 2 L r yields

(r rz ) | r + r (r rz ) | r
=
r

p 0 p L + g L cos
L

(2)

On taking the limit as r 0, the left-hand side of the above equation is the definition of the
first derivative. The right-hand side may be written in a compact and convenient way by
introducing the modified pressure P, which is the sum of the pressure and gravitational terms.
The general definition of the modified pressure is P = p + g h , where h is the height (in the
direction opposed to gravity) above some arbitrary preselected datum plane. The advantages of

Homework 1
using the modified pressure P are that (i) the components of the gravity vector g need not be
calculated in cylindrical coordinates; (ii) the solution holds for any orientation of the tube axis;
and (iii) the effects of both pressure and gravity are in general considered. Here, h is negative
since the z-axis points downward, giving h = z cos and therefore P = p g z cos . Thus,
P0 = p0 at z = 0 and PL = pL g L cos at z = L giving p0 pL + g L cos = P0 PL
P. Thus, equation (2) gives
P

d
(r rz) =

dr

(3)

Equation (3) on integration leads to the following expression for the shear stress distribution:
P
rz =

C1
r+

2L

(4)
r

## The constant of integration C1 is determined later using boundary conditions.

It is worth noting that equations (3) and (4) apply to both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids,
and provide starting points for many fluid flow problems in cylindrical coordinates
Step. Shear stress distribution and velocity profile
Substituting Newton's law of viscosity for rz in equation (4) gives
P

dvz

=
dr

C1
r+

2L

(5)
r

The above differential equation is simply integrated to obtain the following velocity profile:
P
r2

vz =
4L

C1
ln r + C2

(6)

The integration constants C1 and C2 are evaluated from the following boundary conditions:
BC 1: at r = 0, rz and vz are finite

(7)

Homework 1

BC 2: at r = R,

vz = 0

(8)

From BC 1 (which states that the momentum flux and velocity at the tube axis cannot be
infinite), C1 = 0. From BC 2 (which is the no-slip condition at the fixed tube wall), C2 = P R2 /
(4 L). On substituting C1 = 0 in equation (4), the final expression for the shear stress (or
momentum flux) distribution is found to be linear as given by
P
rz =

(9)

r
2L

Further, substitution of the integration constants into equation (6) gives the final expression for
the velocity profile as
P R 2
vz =

r 2

1
R
4L

(10)

It is observed that the velocity distribution for laminar, incompressible flow of a Newtonian fluid
in a long circular tube is parabolic.
b)
Step. Maximum velocity, average velocity and mass flow rate
From the velocity profile, various useful quantities may be derived.
(i) The maximum velocity occurs at r = 0 (where dvz/dr = 0). Therefore,
P R2
vz,max = vz| r = 0 =

(11)
4L

(ii) The average velocity is obtained by dividing the volumetric flow rate by the cross-sectional
area as shown below.
vz,avg =

P R2
1
vz 2 r dr = 2 R
=
= vz,max
vz r dr

(12)

Homework 1

R2 0

2 r dr

8L

Thus, the ratio of the average velocity to the maximum velocity for Newtonian fluid flow in a
circular tube is .
(iii) The mass rate of flow is obtained by integrating the velocity profile over the cross section of
the circular tube as follows.
R
w = vz 2 r dr = R2 vz,avg
0

(13)

Thus, the mass flow rate is the product of the density , the cross-sectional area ( R2) and the
average velocity vz,avg. On substituting vz,avg from equation (12), the final expression for the mass
rate of flow is
P R4
w =

(14)
8L

The flow rate vs. pressure drop (w vs. P) expression above is well-known as the HagenPoiseuille equation. It is a result worth noting because it provides the starting point for flow in
many systems (e.g., flow in slightly tapered tubes).
c)
Step. Force along tube wall
The z-component of the force, Fz, exerted by the fluid on the tube wall is given by the shear
stress integrated over the wetted surface area. Therefore, on using equation (9),
Fz = (2 R L) rz| r = R = R2 P = R2 p + R2 g L cos

where the pressure difference p = p0 pL. The above equation simply states that the viscous
force is balanced by the net pressure force and the gravity force.

(15)

Homework 1

Solution. 3
Step. Simplification of continuity equation
In steady laminar flow, the fluid is expected to travel in a circular motion (for small values of ).
Only the tangential component of velocity exists. The radial and axial components of velocity
are zero; so, vr = 0 and vz = 0.
For incompressible flow, the continuity equation gives .v = 0.
In cylindrical coordinates,
1
r r

1 v
(r vr ) +

vz
+

v
=0

=0

(1)

## So, v = v (r, z).

Step. Simplification of equation of motion
For a Newtonian fluid, the components of the Navier - Stokes equation may be simplified as
given below.
r - component
:

- component
:

z - component
:

v2

p
=

(2)
r

1
2v

0 =
(r v ) +

r r r
z2

(3)

p
g

0 =
z

From symmetry arguments, there is no pressure gradient in the -direction; so, p = p(r, z).

(4)

Homework 1
b)
Step. Velocity profile
The no-slip boundary conditions at the two disk surfaces are
BC 1 :

at z = 0, any r,

v = 0

(5)

BC 2 :

at z = B, any r,

v = r

(6)

It is possible to make an educated guess for the form of the tangential velocity taking a clue from
BC 2. Thus, it is reasonable to postulate v (r, z) = r f(z). Substituting in equation (3) then gives
d2 f
dz2

df
= 0

= C1

or

f = C1 z + C2

(7)

dz

## Equation (5) gives f = 0 at z = 0 or C2 = 0. On the other hand, equation (6) gives f = at z = B or

C1 = /B. On substituting f = z/B, the tangential velocity profile is ultimately obtained as
rz
v =

(8)
B

The above result is expected and could have been guessed by considering a fluid contained
between two parallel plates (with the lower plate at z = 0 held stationary and the upper plate at z
= B moving at a constant velocity V). Then, the linear velocity distribution is given by v = V z/B,
which is the velocity profile at any r in the parallel - disk viscometer. On noting that V = r at
the upper plate, equation (8) is obtained.
c)
Step. Determination of torque
From the velocity profile in equation (8), the momentum flux (shear stress) is determined as
v
z =

r
=

and
B

r = r

v

= 0

r r

(9)

Homework 1
The differential torque dT is rigorously obtained as the cross product of the lever arm r and the
differential force dF exerted on the fluid by a solid surface element. Thus, dT = r x dF where dF
= n.(p + ) dS, r is the vector drawn from the axis of rotation to the element of surface area dS,
n is the unit normal to the surface, p is the pressure, is the identity (unit) tensor, and is the
viscous stress tensor. For the parallel - disk viscometer,
dT = r x n. dS = r r x (z).z z (2 r dr)

(10)

The pressure term is neglected in equation (10). Since z.z = 1 and r x = z, we obtain dT = r
(z) (2 r dr) z. Thus, the z-component of the differential torque is dTz = r (z) (2 r dr),
which is simply the product of the lever arm, the momentum flux and the differential surface
area. Integrating over the area of the upper disk after substituting for z from equation (9) yields
Tz |z = B

R
2R
R4
= [ (z) (2 r2 dr)]z = B =
r3 dr =
0
B 0
2B

(11)

Equation (11) provides the formula for determining the viscosity of a Newtonian fluid from
measurements of the torque Tz and angular velocity in a parallel - disk viscometer as =
2BTz/(R4).
Note that the shear stress is not uniform [as given by equation 9)] in a parallel - disk viscometer,
whereas it is uniform throughout the gap in a cone - and - plate viscometer.

Homework 1

Solution. 4
Step. Hagen-Poiseuille equation and lubrication approximation
The mass flow rate vs. pressure drop (w vs. P) relationship for a Newtonian fluid in a circular
tube of constant radius R is
P R 4
w =

(1)
8L

The above equation, which is the famous Hagen-Poiseuille equation, may be re-arranged as
P

8w 1
=

(2)
R4

For the tapered tube, note that the mass flow rate w does not change with axial distance z. If the
above equation is assumed to be approximately valid for a differential length dz of the tube
whose radius R is slowly changing with axial distance z, then it may be re-written as
dP

8w

[R(z)] 4

=
dz

(3)

The approximation used above where a flow between non-parallel surfaces is treated locally as a
flow between parallel surfaces is commonly called the lubrication approximation because it is
often employed in the theory of lubrication. The lubrication approximation, simply speaking, is a
local application of a one-dimensional solution and therefore may be referred to as a quasi-onedimensional approach.
Equation (3) may be integrated to obtain the pressure drop across the tube on substituting the
taper function R(z), which is determined next.
Step. Taper function

Homework 1
As the tube radius R varies linearly from R0 at the tube entrance (z = 0) to RL at the tube exit (z =
L), the taper function may be expressed as R(z) = R0 + (RL R0) z / L. On differentiating with
respect to z, we get
dR

RL R0
=

dz

(4)
L

## Step. Pressure P as a function of radius R

Equation (3) is readily integrated with respect to radius R rather than axial distance z. Using
equation (4) to eliminate dz from equation (3) yields
8w

dR

RL R0

R4

( dP ) =

(5)

## Integrating the above equation between z = 0 and z = L, we get

PL

8w

(dP ) =

P0

P0 PL

RL R0

8w

3 (RL R0 )

=
L

RL

R0

dR
(6)
R

1
1

R 3 R 3
0

(7)

Equation (7) may be re-arranged into the following standard form in terms of mass flow rate:
P R0 4
w =
8L

3 ( 1)
P R0 4
3 3

=
1 3
1 + + 2
8L

(8)

Homework 1
where the taper ratio RL / R0. The term in square brackets on the right-hand side of the above
equation may be viewed as a taper correction to equation (1).