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# Acta Mech Sin (2009) 25:577582

DOI 10.1007/s10409-009-0245-7
RESEARCH PAPER
The exact solution of Stokes second problem including start-up
process with fractional element
Kaixin Hu Keqin Zhu
Received: 24 July 2008 / Revised: 5 January 2009 / Accepted: 12 January 2009 / Published online: 27 March 2009
The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009
Abstract The start-upprocess of Stokes secondproblemof
a viscoelastic material with fractional element is studied. The
uid above an innite at plane is set in motion by a sudden
acceleration of the plate to steady oscillation. Exact solutions
are obtained by using Laplace transform and Fourier trans-
form. It is found that the relationship between the rst peak
value and the one of equal-amplitude oscillations depends
on the distance from the plate. The amplitude decreases for
increasing frequency and increasing distance.
Keywords Stokes second problem Start-up process
Fractional element Laplace transform Fourier transform
1 Introduction
Exact solutions of the NS equations are important not just
because the solutions represent fundamental ows and the
basic phenomena described by the NS equations can be more
closely studied, but also they serve as standards for check-
ing the accuracies of numerical methods . Stokes sec-
ond problem is an important ow, in which exact solution
could be obtained. Fractional element model studied in this
paper describes a special kind of viscoelastic uids whose
stress-strain relationship is between spring and dashpot. Its
constitutive equation is given by 
= G

dt

, 0 < < 1,
where is the shear stress, the shear strain, G the shear
modulus, =

G
the relaxation time, the coefcient of
viscosity, the fractional parameter. We can interpret the
K. Hu K. Zhu (B)
School of Aerospace, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China
e-mail: zhukq@tsinghua.edu.cn
model as an interpolation between Hookes law ( = 0) and
Newtons law ( = 1). Fractional element is a basic model
in rheology to describe more complex viscoelastic uids and
is called ScottBlairs model. It can be realized physically
through hierarchical arrangements of springs and dashpots.
Heymans and Bauwens  and Zhu et al.  studied the
mechanical analogues and physical meanings of fractional
element model.
As a classic example in unsteady ows, Stokes second
problem refers to the unsteady shear ow of a viscous uid
near a at plate which executes harmonic oscillations parallel
to itself . Oscillatory Couette ow is the simplest approx-
imation for time-periodic shear driven gas ows encoun-
tered in various microelectromechanical systems (MEMS),
such as microaccelerometers, inertial sensors, and resonant
lters . The study of Stokes second problem has some
applications in the elds of chemical, medical, biomedical,
micro, and nanotechnology . Recently, Ai and Vafai 
derived the exact solutions including several classical non-
Newtonian uids for the Stokes second problem. Deka et al.
 studied the exact solution of MHD Stokes oscillating
plate. Yakhot and Colosqui  investigated Stokes second
ow problem in a high frequency limit and its application to
nanomechanicalresonators. The Transient solution of New-
tonianowfor Stoke oscillatingplate were studiedbyPanton
.
In the present paper the start-up process of Stokes
second problem of a viscoelastic uid with fractional
element is studied. First, we give the governing equations
for this problem. Then by using the Laplace transform, we
obtain the exact solutions of the ow. On the basis of the
solutions, we discuss the comparability of the velocity pro-
les and the characteristic of the velocity amplitude. We also
study the start-up time of the ow, and the oscillation which
reaches steady-state when the time goes to innite. Finally
123
578 K. Hu, K. Zhu
we compare the solutions of fractional element with the case
of the Newtonian uid, and analyze the relationship between
parameter and the oscillation.
2 Governing equations
We select the direction of motion of the wall as the x axis
and the direction perpendicular to the wall as the y axis. For
the problem under consideration here, the velocity eld has
only x directional component, i.e.
v = u(y, t )i , (1)
where u is the velocity in the x-coordinate direction and i is
the unit vector in the x-direction.
The constitutive equation of fractional element can be
written as follows

yx
= G

yx
t

= G

1
t
1
_
u
y
_
. (2)
The momentum equation is

u
t
=

yx
y
, (3)
where is the density of the uid.
Substituting the constitutive equation (2) into the momen-
tum equation (3) yields

u
t
= G

1
t
1
_

2
u
y
2
_
. (4)
Let the plate oscillate with angular frequency and ampli-
tude U. The boundary and initial conditions read
u(0, t ) = U exp(it ), t > 0, (5)
u(, t ) = 0, (6)
u(y, 0) = 0, y > 0. (7)
3 Analytical solutions
We introduce the dimensionless variables and parameters
u

=
u
U
, y

=
yU

, t

=
tU
2

, =
U
2

G
,
where U and

U
2

## denote characteristic velocity and time, is

a dimensionless parameter. For simplicity the dimensionless
mark * will be omitted hereinafter.
The governing equation and its boundary and initial con-
ditions are accordingly written as
u
t
=
1

1
t
1
_

2
u
y
2
_
, 0 < < 1, (8)
u(0, t ) = exp(it ), t > 0, (9)
u(, t ) = 0, (10)
u(y, 0) = 0, y > 0. (11)
In order to solve Eq. (8), we dene the Laplace transform
of the velocity u
u(y, s) = L{u(y, t ), s} =

_
0
e
st
u(y, t )dt . (12)
Taking the Laplace transform of Eqs. (8)(10) yields 

2
u
y
2
=
1

1
s
2
u, (13)
u(, s) = 0, (14)
u(0, s) =
1
s i
. (15)
Solving the above equations yields
u(y, s) =
1
s i
exp
_

_
1

1
s
2
_1
2
y
_
. (16)
By using Taylor theorem, we can rewrite Eq. (13) in a series
form
u(y, s) =

n=0
(y)
n

n(1)
2
n!

1
s
n(2)
2
+1

k=0
_
i
s
_
k
=

n=0
(y)
n

n(1)
2
n!

k=0
(i)
k
1
s
n(2)
2
+1+k
. (17)
Applying the inverse Laplace transform to Eq. (17), we
arrive at
u(y, t )=

n=0
(y)
n

n(1)
2
n!

k=0
(i)
k
t
n(2)
2
+k

_
n(2)
2
+ 1 + k
_. (18)
We choose the real part of the velocity
u(y, t ) =

n=0
(y)
n
n!
n(1)
2

k=0
t
n(2)
2
+2k

2k
(1)
k

_
n(2)
2
+ 1 + 2k
_
=

n=0
1
n!

_
y

1
2
t
2
2
_
n

k=0
_
t
2
2
_
2k
(1)
k

_
n(2)
2
+ 1 + 2k
_. (19)
123
The exact solution of Stokes second problem including start-up process with fractional element 579
Fig. 1 u versus y for = 0.1, t = 2, = 1
It should be pointed out that there are similarity solutions of
the velocity for eigenvalues as follows
A =
_
y

1
2
t
2
2
_
, B =
t
2
=
t
T
, (20)
where A and B denote the critical distance correlated with
time and the periodicity of the oscillation, respectively.
4 Results and discussion
4.1 The case = 1
Substituting = 1 into Eq. (19) yields
u(y, t ) =

n=0
1
n!

_
y
t
1
2
_
n

k=0
(t )
2k
(1)
k

_
1 + 2k
n
2
_ . (21)
This uid may be simplied as Newtonian uid. The exact
solution of the start-up process Stokes second problem with
Newtonian uid is 
u(y, t )=
t
_
0
cos[ (t )]
y
2

3
exp
_

y
2
4
_
d.
(22)
The equality between Eqs. (21) and (22) could be vali-
dated by numerical calculation. For example let = 0.1,
t = 2, Fig. 1 shows the velocity proles given by Eqs. (21)
and (22). The two curves are superposed completely. So the
result of Eq. (19) includes the Newtonian uid as a special
case.
4.2 The similarity of velocity proles
Equation (19) shows that the velocity proles for varying
times are similar, i.e., they can be reduced to the same curve
by changing the scale along the y axis if the periodicities
Fig. 2 u versus y for = 0.7, = 10, B =
1
2
of them are the same. The curves plotted in Fig. 2 show the
velocity proles at two values of time when = 0.7, = 10,
B =
1
2
. If the scale along the y axis of the curve t = 1 mul-
tiplies 2
0.65
, the two curves can be superposed completely.
4.3 The characteristics of amplitude
Figure 3a and b show u versus t for two values of y. The
image shows that the velocity increases from zero and drops
down after it reaches the peak value. The ow transits from
unequal amplitudes oscillation to equal amplitudes oscilla-
tion with increasing time. When y is small, the rst peak
value is always lower than the one of the equal amplitudes
oscillation at the same place; as y increases, the peak value
becomes higher than the one of equal-amplitude oscillations.
There is a critical distance y
c
from the plate, where the rst
peak value equals to the one of equal-amplitude oscillations.
It is analogous to the Newtonian uid case in .
Figure 3c shows u versus t for =0.7, =10, =0.7,
y = 1. Compare Fig. 3a with Fig. 3c, we can see that the
amplitude decreases for increasing frequency at the xed
point.
4.4 The time to start-up
The curves plotted in Fig. 4 show u versus t for y = 1,
= 10, = 7 for various values of .
The computing results show that at the xed point, the
uid begins to oscillate at different times when changes.
For small times, the velocity is almost zero. The time when
the uid begins to oscillate will be smaller if increases. The
reason is that the wave will diffuse at the speed of c =
_
E

in
pure elastic uid, where E is the modulus of elasticity. But
an arbitrary point in the uid eld keeps up with the plate
123
580 K. Hu, K. Zhu
Fig. 3 u versus t . a = 0.7,
= 10, = 7, y = 1;
b = 0.7, = 10, = 7,
y = 1.45; c = 0.7, = 10,
= 0.7, y = 1
Fig. 4 u versus t for y = 1, = 10, = 7
at once for Newtonian uid. The wave speed of Newtonian
uid can be seen as . The uid will be close to Newtonian
uid as increases. So the wave speed will be greater and
the point in the uid eld will begin to oscillate earlier.
4.5 When t
As the time becomes innite, the systemreaches stable oscil-
lations. As the series in Eq. (19) become divergent, we use
Fourier transform instead. The governing equation and its
boundary conditions read
u
t
=
1

1
t
1
_

2
u
y
2
_
, (23)
u(0, t ) = exp(it ), (24)
u(, t ) = 0. (25)
We dene the Fourier transform of the velocity 
u(y, s) = F{u(y, t ), v} =
+
_

e
ivt
u(y, t )dt. (26)
So we can obtain

2
u
y
2
=
1
(iv)
2
u, (27)
u(0, v) =
+
_

e
it
e
ivt
dt = 2( v), (28)
where (x) is Dirac function .
Solving the above equations yields
u(y, v) = 2( v) exp
_
y
1
2
(iv)
2
2
_
. (29)
Applying the inverse Fourier transform, we get
u(y, t ) = exp
_
y
1
2
(iv)
2
2
_
exp(it ). (30)
123
The exact solution of Stokes second problem including start-up process with fractional element 581
Fig. 5 u versus t . a = 0.7,
= 10, = 7, y = 1;
b = 0.7, = 10, = 7,
y = 1.45
We choose the real part of the velocity
u(y, t ) = exp
_
y
1
2

2
2
cos
(2 )
4
_
cos
_
t y
1
2

2
2
sin
(2 )
4
_
.
(31)
When = 1, the uid can be simplied as Newtonian
uid. The exact solution of Stokes second problem is 
u(y, t ) = exp
_
y
_

2
_
cos
_
wt y
_

2
_
. (32)
It is the same as Eq. (31) when = 1.
Equation (31) shows that the velocity proles has the form
of a damped harmonic oscillation in y direction. Let
P = exp
_
y
1
2

2
2
cos
(2 )
4
_
,
k =
1
2

2
2
sin
(2 )
4
.
(33)
An arbitrary point in the uid eld oscillates with angular
frequency and amplitude P. The amplitude decreases for
increasing frequency and increasing distance. We can dene
the depth of penetration of the viscous wave as 
=
2
k
=
2

1
2

2
2
sin
(2)
4
. (34)
Figures 5a and b show u versus t for stable oscillation
under the same condition of Fig. 3a,b, respectively.
The amplitude P varies with . The derivative of P() is
dP
d
=
_
Py
1
2

_
()

2
cos
_
(2 )
4
_

4
tan
_
(2 )
4
_

1
2
ln()
_
, 0 1.
(35)
The critical number
cr
which makes
dP
d
= 0 can be
deduced from the above. When = 10, = 7, the criti-
cal number is
cr
= 0.451. The amplitude P is monotone
increasing with if > 0.451 (see Fig. 6).
Fig. 6 u versus t for = 10, = 7, y = 1
5 Conclusions
In this paper, we study Stokes second problem including
start-up process with fractional element. Exact solutions are
obtained by using Laplace transform and Fourier transform.
On the basis of the solutions, we discuss the characteristic of
the velocity eld through the comparison between fractional
element and the classical Newtonian uid.
The following conclusions can be extracted from the
results: (1) The velocity proles for varying times are simi-
lar if the periodicities of them are the same. (2) The velocity
of arbitrary point in the uid eld increases from zero and
drops down after it reaches the peak value. The amplitude of
the oscillation transits from unequal to equal with increasing
time. When the distance fromthe plate is small, the rst peak
value is always lower than the one of equal-amplitude oscil-
lations at the same place; as the distance increases, the peak
value becomes higher than the one of equal-amplitude oscil-
lations. There is a critical distance from the plate, where the
rst peak equals to the one of equal-amplitude oscillations.
(3) The amplitude decreases for increasing frequency at the
xed point. (4) When increases, the uid will be close to
Newtonian uid, the wave speed will increase and the uid
123
582 K. Hu, K. Zhu
will begin to oscillate earlier at the xed point. (5) When the
oscillation approaches steady-state, the velocity prole has
the formof a damped harmonic oscillation in y direction. The
amplitude decreases for increasing frequency and increasing
distance.
Recently, the research has shown that fractional element is
useful for describing the properties of viscoelastic uids. We
hope the results presented in this paper will be of importance
to the research in this area and its applications.
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