Journal of Fluid Mechanics

On the curvature and torsion of an isolated vortex filament

Robert  Betchov a1
a1 Aerospace Corporation, E1 Segundo, California

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We consider a very thin vortex filament in an unbounded, incompressible and inviscid fluid. The filament is not necessarily plane. Each portion of the filament moves with a velocity that can be approximated in terms of the local curvature of the filament. This approximation leads to a pair of intrinsic equations giving the curvature and the torsion of the filament, as functions of the time and the arc length along the filament. It is found that helicoidal vortex filaments are elementary solutions, and that they are unstable.

The intrisic equations also suggest a linear mechanism that tends to produce concentrated torsion and a non-linear mechanism tending to disperse such singularities.

(Published Online March 28 2006)
(Received July 24 1964)
(Revised December 23 1964)

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