DOI: 10.1063/1.857730 ISSN:

A general classification of three-dimensional flow fields

M. S. Chong, A. E. Perry, B. J. Cantwell
  • General Engineering

The geometry of solution trajectories for three first-order coupled linear differential equations can be related and classified using three matrix invariants. This provides a generalized approach to the classification of elementary three-dimensional flow patterns defined by instantaneous streamlines for flow at and away from no-slip boundaries for both compressible and incompressible flow. Although the attention of this paper is on the velocity field and its associated deformation tensor, the results are valid for any smooth three-dimensional vector field. For example, there may be situations where it is appropriate to work in terms of the vorticity field or pressure gradient field. In any case, it is expected that the results presented here will be of use in the interpretation of complex flow field data.

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