||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Oseen equations. (Discuss) Proposed since October 2012.|
In 1910 Carl Wilhelm Oseen proposed what became known as Oseen's approximation, to treat problems of fluid dynamics in which a flow field involves a small disturbance of a constant mean flow, as in a stream of liquid. His work was based on the experiments of G.G. Stokes, who had studied a sphere of radius "" falling in a fluid of viscosity . Oseen developed a correction term, which included inertial factors, for the velocity used in Stokes' calculations, to solve the problem. His approximation lead to an improvement to Stokes' calculations.
The method and formulation for analysis of flow at a very low Reynolds number is important. The slow motion of small particles in a fluid is common in bio-engineering. Oseen's drag formulation can be used in connection with flow of fluids under various special conditions, such as: containing particles, sedimentation of particles, centrifugation or ultracentrifugation of suspensions, colloids, and blood through isolation of tumors and antigens. The fluid does not even have to be a liquid, and the particles do not need to be solid. It can be used in a number of applications, such as smog formation and atomization of liquids.
Blood flow in small vessels, such as capillaries, is characterized by small Reynolds and Womersley numbers. A vessel of diameter of 10 µm with a flow of 1 milimetre/second, viscosity of 0.02 poise for blood, density of 1 g/cm3 and a heart rate of 2 Hz, will have a Reynolds number of 0.005 and a Womersley number of 0.0126. At these small Reynolds and Womersley numbers, the viscous effects of the fluid become predominant. Understanding the movement of these particles is essential for drug delivery and studying metastasis movements of cancers.
Oseen considered the sphere to be stationary and the fluid to be flowing with a velocity () at an infinite distance from the sphere. Inertial terms were neglected in Stokes’ calculations. It is a limiting solution when the Reynolds number tends to zero. When the Reynolds number is small and finite, such as 0.1, correction for the inertial term is needed. Oseen substituted the following velocity values into the Navier-Stokes equations.
Inserting these into the Navier-Stokes equations and neglecting the quadratic terms in the primed quantities leads to the derivation of Oseen’s approximation:
When Stokes' solution was solved on the basis of Oseen's approximation, it showed that the resultant hydrodynamic force (drag) is given by
- is the Reynolds number based on radius of the sphere
- is the hydrodynamic force
- is the flow
- is the radius of the sphere
- is the fluid viscosity
The force from Oseen's equation differs from that of Stokes by a factor of
Error in Stokes' solution
The Navier Stokes equations read:
but when the velocity ﬁeld is:
In the far ﬁeld >> 1, the viscous stress is dominated by the last term. That is:
The inertia term is dominated by the term:
The error is then given by the ratio:
This becomes unbounded for >> 1, therefore the inertia cannot be ignored in the far ﬁeld. By taking the curl, Stokes equation gives Since the body is a source of vorticity, would become unbounded logarithmically for large This is certainly unphysical and is known as Stokes' paradox.
Modifications to Oseen's approximation
One may question, however, whether the correction term was chosen by chance, because in a frame of reference moving with the sphere, the fluid near the sphere is almost at rest, and in that region inertial force is negligible and Stokes' equation is well justified. Far away from the sphere, the flow velocity approaches U and Oseen's approximation is more accurate. But Oseen's equation was obtained applying the equation for the entire flow field. This question was answered by Proudman and Pearson in 1957, who solved the Navier-Stokes equations and gave an improved Stokes' solution in the neighborhood of the sphere and an improved Oseen’s solution at infinity, and matched the two solutions in a supposed common region of their validity. They obtained:
- Fung, Yuan-cheng (1997), Biomechanics: Circulation (2nd ed.), New York, NY: Springer-Verlag
- Mei, C.C. (4 April 2011), Oseen's improvement for slow flow past a body (pdf), Advanced Environmental Fluid Mechanics (Web.Mit.edu), retrieved 2013-02-28
- Proudman, I.; Pearson, J.R.A. (1957), Expansions at small Reynolds numbers for the flow past a sphere and a circular cylinder, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 2 (3): 237–262, Bibcode:1957JFM.....2..237P, doi:10.1017/S0022112057000105