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Navier-Stokes equations

March 9th, 2010 No comments

The viscous fluids theory is marked by the Navier-Stokes equations, that’s named after Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes, applying Newton’s idea written in his Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica in which describing the motion of mass point and Euler’s equations in his Mechanica in which formulated the axioms of continuum mechanics, that is: the balance of mass, the balance of momentum, the balance of moment of momentum, and the cut principle. The historical development of Navier-Stokes equations was based on the Newton’s hypothesis that notices that the motion of fluid past other bodies is held back by friction. Navier introduces both types of friction into the equations of motions, for the material points inside as well as on the boundary in his Memoir sur les lois du movement des fluids. This work was continued by Poisson, De Saint-Venant, and finally by Stokes [1].

Stokes briefly explained his theory of fluid motion in various initials and boundary conditions in Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and Cambridge Mathematical Journal, and describe in On the steady motion of incompressible fluids in 1842. He also wrote about flow in cylindrical coordinate in On the motion of a piston and of the air in a cylinder in 1843 [2]. The development of this equation was built more than 150 years, however a fundamental problem is to decide whether such smooth, physically reasonable solutions exist for the Navier-Stokes equations. It is make the Navier-Stokes equations is one of seven unsolved mathematical problems in this millennium [3].


  1. R. de Boer, Theory of porous media: Highlights in the historical development and current state, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2000.
  2. G. G. Stokes, Mathematical and physical papers, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1880.
  3. K. J. Devlin, The millennium problems: The seven greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles of our time, Basic Books, 2002.
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