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Open AccessArticle

Kinematics of a Fluid Ellipse in a Linear Flow

NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA 98052, USA
Fluids 2018, 3(1), 16;
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Geophysical Fluid Dynamics)
A four-parameter kinematic model for the position of a fluid parcel in a time-varying ellipse is introduced. For any ellipse advected by an arbitrary linear two-dimensional flow, the rates of change of the ellipse parameters are uniquely determined by the four parameters of the velocity gradient matrix, and vice versa. This result, termed ellipse/flow equivalence, provides a stronger version of the well-known result that a linear velocity field maps an ellipse into another ellipse. Moreover, ellipse/flow equivalence is shown to be a manifestation of Stokes’ theorem. This is done by deriving a matrix-valued extension of the classical Stokes’ theorem that involves a spatial integral over the velocity gradient tensor, thus accounting for the two strain terms in addition to the divergence and vorticity. General expressions for various physical properties of an elliptical ring of fluid are also derived. The ellipse kinetic energy is found to be composed of three portions, associated respectively with the circulation, the rate of change of the moment of inertia, and the variance of parcel angular velocity around the ellipse. A particular innovation is the use of four matrices, termed the I J K L basis, that greatly facilitate the required calculations. View Full-Text
Keywords: elliptical vortex; linear flow; Kida vortex; Stokes’ theorem; Ball’s theorem; moment of inertia; matrix basis elliptical vortex; linear flow; Kida vortex; Stokes’ theorem; Ball’s theorem; moment of inertia; matrix basis
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Lilly, J.M. Kinematics of a Fluid Ellipse in a Linear Flow. Fluids 2018, 3, 16.

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