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The purpose of this tutorial is to illustrate the difference between streamlines, streak lines and path lines for a time dependent velocity field using the java application called vector field manipulator. In this application the user can type the equations of the vector field to be studied. Then he click the button draw, and the vector field is displayed. By mouse clicking in the display area he can input a point to the application. This point can be the initial point to trace a streamline passing through it, or the path line starting at it, or the streak line starting at it. The user can chose the options streamline, path line and streak line from the drop down menu box. Once the user makes his/her choice and click the draw button, the choice made became active. When we study a fluid flow, we are usually interested in the fluid velocity at points in space. The collection of the velocity vectors over a grid in the fluid domain is a vector field (velocity field). When we talk about streamlines, streak lines and path lines of a fluid flow, we are talking about properties of the velocity field of the flow in question. Next, we give a more rigorous definition of the streamlines, path lines and streak lines.

The streamlines are solutions of the equations:

and

with initial conditions and

and

(the point given by the user by mouse clicking in the display area), and to

is the parameterization of the vector field. We integrate the equations above for

obtain the streamline that pass through the point

. Notice that the streamlines are given at a given

value of time (the value of time inputed in the box Input t). We take a picture of the vector field at the particular instant we want, and we trace the lines tangent to the vectors. That is exactly what we do in the application with this option. For time dependent vector fields, different values of give different vector fields, and therefore, different streamlines. To visualize the difference between streamlines for a time dependent and a time independent vector field, we are going to do an exercise using the vector field manipulator java application. First, we consider the time independent vector field

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8/29/2010 11:14 AM

let say three different streamlines. To .edu/fluids-modules/www/potential_flows/LecturesHTML/. given by the equations and Repeat the exercise above. and Choose the streamline option from the drop down menu box..Tutorial . We are going to do a similar exercise as in the previous section. check the box change streamlines in time. Notice the difference between the equations defining streamlines and path lines. but they are the same for any instant we input in the input t box.mit. the streamlines change with time since the vector field form change with time. Then click in the display are to get... and click the draw button. then change the value of time in the input t box and click the draw button. we consider a time dependent vector field. The streamlines change colors. In this case. Consider again the time independent vector field 2 of 4 8/29/2010 11:14 AM . Input one more value for in the input t box. we integrate the equations above forward in time obtain the path line that started at the point (integrate for ). and then click the draw button.. Next.Illustration of Streamlines. http://web. The path lines are solutions of the equations: and with initial conditions and (the point given by the user by mouse clicking in the display area). Next. Streaklines and Pathlines of a Veloci.

. According to the lecture note. Actually the part of the streamlines that resulted from the forward integration in time of the vector field equations. The streamlines are gone. and First. Notice that they are basically the streamlines. chose the option path line from the drop down menu box. Next. we can with for with .. Then. Next. chose the same three points you used before to trace path lines.Illustration of Streamlines. http://web. If we just want some Next. the streak line starting at this point is the set of points given by the equation and with initial points of the streak line. it is the instantaneous locus of all particles that pass a given point. we do an exercise to compute a streak line for a time independent vector field. Chose three points from the grid to get three streamlines.mit.edu/fluids-modules/www/potential_flows/LecturesHTML/. Given a point . chose the option streamline from the drop down menu box. Now.Tutorial . for a time independent vector field. . and click the draw button.. but try to remember their shape. the path lines coincide with part of the streamlines. We again consider the vector field 3 of 4 8/29/2010 11:14 AM . There is no resemblance with the path lines and streamlines. and click the draw button. We will see that the streak line starting at a chosen point coincides with the path line starting at this point and with the streamline passing through this point for the case of a time independent vector field. but now we use again the time dependent vector field and You will see how different the path lines are from the streamlines. Streaklines and Pathlines of a Veloci.. Remember the points you chose to trace streamlines. we repeat the exercise.

. the streamlines. path lines and streak lines are different. chose the option path line from the drop down menu box. The streamline is gone. Now.mit.. Streaklines and Pathlines of a Veloci..and trace the path line. As expected. the path lines coincide with the streak lines. Next. You will see that the streak line for the time independent vector field coincides with the path line starting at the chosen point. Chose one point from the grid to get three streamlines. chose the option streak line from the drop down menu box.edu/fluids-modules/www/potential_flows/LecturesHTML/. Third.Tutorial . path line and streamline are the same. for time independent vector field. we consider the time dependent vector field and Repeat the exercise described in the paragraph above. but try to remember its shape. and click the draw button. Second. http://web. Use the same point as you used for the path and streamline case.Illustration of Streamlines. You will see that for time dependent vector field . Karl P Burr 2003-08-23 4 of 4 8/29/2010 11:14 AM .. Remember the point you chose to trace the streamlines. and First. chose the same point you used before. and they coincide with part of the streamlines. In summary. and click the draw button. and click the draw button. chose the option streamline from the drop down menu box.

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