# Kelvin's circulation theorem

In

fluid mechanics ,**Kelvin's Circulation Theorem**states "In aninviscid ,barotropic flow with conservative body forces, the circulation around a closed curve moving with the fluid remains constant with time" [*Kundu, P and Cohen, I: "Fluid Mechanics", page 130. Academic Press 2002*] . The theorem was developed byWilliam Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin . Stated mathematically::$frac\{mathrm\{d\}Gamma\}\{mathrm\{d\}t\}\; =\; 0$

where $Gamma$ is the circulation around a material contour $C(t)$. Stated more simply this theorem says that if one observes a closed contour at one instant, and follows the contour over time (by following the motion of all of its fluid elements), the circulation over the two locations of this contour are equal.

This theorem does not hold in cases with viscous stresses, nonconservative body forces (for example a

coriolis force ) or non-barotropic pressure-density relations.**Mathematical Proof**The circulation $Gamma$ around a closed material contour $C(t)$ is defined by::$Gamma(t)\; =\; oint\_C\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{ds\}$where

**"u**" is the velocity vector, and**"ds**" is an element along the closed contour.The governing equation for an inviscid fluid with a conservative body force is:$frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\{mathrm\{D\}\; t\}\; =\; -\; frac\{1\}\{\; ho\}\backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}p\; +\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; Phi$where D/D"t" is the

convective derivative , "ρ" is the fluid density, "p" is the pressure and "Φ" is the potential for the body force. These are theEuler equations with a body force.The condition of baratropicity implies that the density is a function only of the pressure, i.e. $ho=\; ho(p)$.

Taking the time derivative of circulation gives:$frac\{mathrm\{d\}Gamma\}\{mathrm\{d\}\; t\}\; =\; oint\_C\; frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\{mathrm\{D\}t\}\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\}\; +\; oint\_C\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}\; cdot\; frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\{mathrm\{D\}t\}$

For the first term, we substitute from the governing equation, and then apply

Stokes' theorem , thus::$oint\_C\; frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\{mathrm\{D\}t\}\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{ds\}\; =\; int\_A\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; imes\; left(\; -frac\{1\}\{\; ho\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; p\; +\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; Phi\; ight)\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{n\}\; ,\; mathrm\{d\}S\; =\; int\_A\; frac\{1\}\{\; ho^2\}\; left(\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; ho\; imes\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; p\; ight)\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{n\}\; ,\; mathrm\{d\}S\; =\; 0$The final equality arises since $\backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; ho\; imes\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; p=0$ owing to baratropicity.For the second term, we note that evolution of the material line element is given by:$frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\{mathrm\{D\}t\}\; =\; left(\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\}\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; ight)\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}$Hence:$oint\_C\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}\; cdot\; frac\{mathrm\{D\}\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\{mathrm\{D\}t\}\; =\; oint\_C\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}\; cdot\; left\; [\; left(\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\}\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; ight)\; \backslash boldsymbol\{u\}\; ight]\; =\; frac\{1\}\{2\}\; oint\_C\; \backslash boldsymbol\{\; abla\}\; left(\; |\backslash boldsymbol\{u\}|^2\; ight)\; cdot\; \backslash boldsymbol\{mathrm\{d\}s\}\; =\; 0$The last equality is obtained by applying Stokes theorem.

Since both terms are zero, we obtain the result:$frac\{mathrm\{d\}Gamma\}\{mathrm\{d\}t\}\; =\; 0$

**ee also**Helmholtz's theorems **References**

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