The boundary integral formulation of Stokes flows includes slender-body theory

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Koens, Lyndon Mathijs  ORCID logo

The incompressible Stokes equations can classically be recast in a boundary integral (BI) representation, which provides a general method to solve low-Reynolds number problems analytically and computationally. Alternatively, one can solve the Stokes equations by using an appropriate distribution of flow singularities of the right strength within the boundary, a method particularly useful to describe the dynamics of long slender objects for which the numerical implementation of the BI representation becomes cumbersome. While the BI approach is a mathematical consequence of the Stokes equations, the singularity method involves making judicious guesses that can only be justified a posteriori. In this paper we use matched asymptotic expansions to derive an algebraically accurate slender-body theory directly from the BI representation able to handle arbitrary surface velocities and surface tractions. This expansion procedure leads to sets of uncoupled linear equations and to a single one-dimensional integral equation identical to that derived by Keller and Rubinow (1976) and Johnson (1979) using the singularity method. Hence we show that it is a mathematical consequence of the BI approach that the leading-order flow around a slender body can be represented using a distribution of singularities along its centreline. Furthermore when derived from either the single-layer or double-layer modified BI representation, general slender solutions are only possible in certain types of flow, in accordance with the limitations of these representations.

boundary integral methods, low-Reynolds-number flows, slender-body theory
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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
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Cambridge University Press (CUP)
European Research Council (682754)