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BL

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a Blasius boundary layer (named after Paul Richard Heinrich Blasius) describes the steady

two-dimensional laminar boundary layer that forms on a semi-infinite plate which is held

parallel to a constant unidirectional flow. Falkner and Skan later generalized Blasius' solution

to wedge flow, i.e. flows in which the plate is not parallel to the flow.

Prandtl's boundary layer equations

A schematic diagram of the Blasius flow profile. The streamwise velocity component

is shown, as a function of the similarity variable

Using scaling arguments, Ludwig Prandtl[1] has argued that about half of the terms in the Navier-Stokes equations

are negligible in boundary layer flows (except in a small region near the leading edge of the plate). This leads to a

reduced set of equations knows as the boundary layer equations. For steady incompressible flow with constant

viscosity and density, these read:

Continuity:

-Momentum:

-Momentum:

Here the coordinate system is chosen with pointing parallel to the plate in the directon of the flow and the

coordinate pointing towards the free stream, and are the and velocity components, is the pressure, is the

density and is the kinematic viscosity.

These three partial differential equations for

and

,

as follows

The -momentum equation implies that the pressure in the boundary layer must be equal to that of the free

stream for any given coordinate. Because the velocity profile is flat in the free stream, there are no

viscous effects and Bernoulli's law applies:

constant

or, after differentiation:

Here

is the velocity of the free stream. The derivatives are not partials because there is no variation

with respect to the coordinate.

Substitution of these results into the

A number of similarity solutions to this equation have been found for various types of flow, including flat plate

boundary layers. The term similarity refers to the property that the velocity profiles at different positions in the flow

are the same apart from a scaling factor. These solutions are often presented in the form of non-linear ordinary

differential equations.

Blasius equation

Blasius[2] proposed a similarity solution for the case in which the free stream velocity is constant,

,

which corresponds to the boundary layer over a flat plate that is oriented parallel to the free flow. First he introduced

the similarity variable

Developing Blasius boundary layer (not ot scale). The velocity profile is shown in red at

selected positions along the plate. The blue lines represent, in top to bottom order, the 99%

(

) and

Where

is proportional to the boundary layer thickness. The factor 2 is actually a later

addition that, as White[3] points out, avoids a constant in the final differential equation. Next Blasius proposed the

stream function

leads directly to the velocity components

equation

This is an third order non-linear ordinary differential equation which can be solved numerically, e.g. with the

shooting method.

The boundary conditions are the no-slip condition

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