Circulation (fluid dynamics)

In fluid dynamics, circulation is the line integral around a closed curve of the fluid velocity. Circulation is normally denoted .
If is the fluid velocity on a small element of a defined curve, and is a vector representing the differential length of that small element, the contribution of that differential length to circulation is :
 where is the angle between the vectors and .
The circulation around a closed curve C is the line integral:^{[1]}
The dimensions of circulation are length squared, divided by time.
Circulation was first used independently by Frederick Lanchester, Wilhelm Kutta, and Nikolai Zhukovsky.
Contents
Kutta–Joukowski theorem
Main article: Kutta–Joukowski theoremThe lift force acting per unit span on a body in a twodimensional inviscid flow field can be expressed as the product of the circulation (Γ) about the body, the fluid density (ρ), and the speed of the body relative to the freestream (V). Thus,
This is known as the Kutta–Joukowski theorem.^{[2]}
This equation applies around airfoils, where the circulation is generated by airfoil action, and around spinning objects, experiencing the Magnus effect, where the circulation is induced mechanically.
Circulation is often used in computational fluid dynamics as an intermediate variable to calculate forces on an airfoil or other body. When an airfoil is generating lift the circulation around the airfoil is finite, and is related to the vorticity of the boundary layer. Outside the boundary layer the vorticity is zero everywhere and therefore the circulation is the same around every circuit, regardless of the length of the circumference of the circuit.
Relation to vorticity
Circulation can be related to vorticity by Stokes' theorem:
but only if the integration path is a boundary, not just a closed curve. Thus vorticity is the circulation per unit area, taken around an infinitesimal loop.
See also
 Vorticity
 BiotSavart law
 Kutta condition
 Kutta–Joukowski theorem
 Kelvin circulation theorem
References
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