Kelvin's circulation theorem
Panton, Ronald L. Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A theorem useful for ideal flows that have negligible viscous forces and a nearly constant density (incompressible flows). Such flows are potential flows and are applicable to the aerodynamics of wings. One characteristic of potential flows is a lack of vorticity. Vorticity characterizes the solid-body-like rotation of the fluid particles as they translate and deform. If a small element of fluid in a flow were instantaneously frozen, vorticity would indicate its spinning motion. Potential flows have zero vorticity. See also: Potential flow; Vorticity; Wing
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