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Transport Phenomena - Fluid Mechanics Theory

Differential Shell Momentum Balance in Rectangular

Cartesian Coordinates

Preparation Just what you need to know !

A shell momentum balance is used below to derive a general differential equation that
can be then employed to solve several fluid flow problems in rectangular Cartesian
coordinates. For this purpose, consider an incompressible fluid in laminar flow under the
effects of both pressure and gravity in a system of length ¦ and width , which is at an
angle  to the vertical. End effects are neglected assuming the dimension of the system
in the -direction is relatively very small compared to those in the -direction ( ) and
the -direction (¦).

Figure. Differential rectangular slab (shell) of fluid of thickness ǻ used in -momentum

balance for flow in rectangular Cartesian coordinates. The -axis is pointing outward
from the plane of the computer screen.

Since the fluid flow is in the -direction,  = 0,  = 0, and only  exists. For small flow
rates, the viscous forces prevent continual acceleration of the fluid. So,  is independent
of  and it is meaningful to postulate that velocity  = () and pressure  = (). The
only nonvanishing components of the stress tensor are  = , which depend only on .
Consider now a thin rectangular slab (shell) perpendicular to the -direction extending a
distance in the -direction and a distance ¦ in the -direction. A 'rate of -momentum'
balance over this thin shell of thickness ǻ in the fluid is of the form:

Rate of -momentum In í 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 () is the same at both
ends of the system, the convective terms cancel out because (   ǻ)| = 0 = (  
ǻ)| = ¦. Only the molecular term (¦  ) remains to be considered, whose 'in' and
'out' directions are taken in the positive direction of the -axis. Generation of -
momentum occurs by the pressure force acting on the surface [ ǻ] and gravity force
acting on the volume [(
cos ) ¦ ǻ].

The different contributions may be listed as follows:

`c rate of -momentum in by viscous transfer across surface at  is (¦  )| 

`c rate of -momentum out by viscous transfer across surface at  + ǻ is (¦  )|
 + ǻ
`c rate of -momentum in by overall bulk fluid motion across surface at  = 0 is ( 
 ǻ )|  = 0
`c rate of -momentum out by overall bulk fluid motion across surface at  ¦ is (
  ǻ )|  = ¦
`c pressure force acting on surface at  = 0 is 0 ǻ
`c pressure force acting on surface at  = ¦ is í ¦ ǻ
`c gravity force acting in -direction on volume of rectangular slab is (
cos ) ¦

On substituting these contributions into the -momentum balance, we get

(¦  ) |  í (¦  ) | +ǻ+ (  0 í  ¦ ) ǻ + (

cos ) ¦ ǻ = 0 (1)

Dividing the equation by ¦ ǻ yields

 | +ǻ í  |   0 í  ¦ 

¦ cos 
= (2)
ǻ ¦

On taking the limit as ǻ ĺ 0, the left-hand side of the above equation is exactly the
definition of the derivative. The right-hand side may be written in a compact and
convenient way by introducing the modified pressure m, which is the sum of the pressure
and gravitational terms. The general definition of the modified pressure is m  

, where is the distance upward (in the direction opposed to gravity) from a reference
plane of choice. The advantages of using the modified pressure m are that (i) the
components of the gravity vector g need not be calculated; (ii) the solution holds for any
flow orientation; and (iii) the fluid may flow as a result of a pressure difference, gravity
or both. Here, is negative since the -axis points downward, giving = í  cos  and
therefore m   
 cos . Thus, m0 = 0 at  = 0 and m¦ ¦  
¦ cos  at  =
¦ giving 0 í ¦ 
¦ cos  = m0 í m¦ Ł ǻm. Thus, equation (2) yields

= (3)

The first-order differential equation may be simply integrated to give

 =  + 1 (4)

Here, 1 is an integration constant, which is determined using an appropriate boundary

condition based on the flow problem. Equation (4) shows that the momentum flux (or
shear stress) distribution is linear in systems in rectangular Cartesian coordinates.

Since equations (3) and (4) have been derived without making any assumption about the
type of fluid, they are applicable to both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. Some of
the axial flow problems in rectangular Cartesian coordinates where these equations may
be used as starting points are given below.