Journal of Fluid Mechanics

The motion of a spherical liquid drop at high Reynolds number

J. F.  Harper a1 and D. W.  Moore a2
a1 Department of Mathematics, University of Bristol 1
a2 Department of Mathematics, Imperial College, London

Article author query
harper jf   [Google Scholar] 
moore dw   [Google Scholar] 


The steady motion of a liquid drop in another liquid of comparable density and viscosity is studied theoretically. Both inside and outside the drop, the Reynolds number is taken to be large enough for boundary-layer theory to hold, but small enough for surface tension to keep the drop nearly spherical. Surface-active impurities are assumed absent. We investigate the boundary layers associated with the inviscid first approximation to the flow, which is shown to be Hill's spherical vortex inside, and potential flow outside. The boundary layers are shown to perturb the velocity field only slightly at high Reynolds numbers, and to obey linear equations which are used to find first and second approximations to the drag coefficient and the rate of internal circulation.

Drag coefficients calculated from the theory agree quite well with experimental values for liquids which satisfy the conditions of the theory. There appear to be no experimental results available to test our prediction of the internal circulation.

(Published Online March 28 2006)
(Received June 28 1967)


1 Now at the Department of Mathematics, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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