Flow structure in motion of a spherical drop in a fluid medium at intermediate Reynolds numbers

Research paper by V. Ya. Rivkind, G. M. Ryskin

Indexed on: 01 Jan '76Published on: 01 Jan '76Published in: Fluid Dynamics


The problem of flow of a viscous fluid around a spherical drop has been examined for the limiting case of small and large Reynolds numbers in several investigations (see [1–3], for instance; there is a detailed review of various approximate solutions in [4]). For the intermediate range of Reynolds numbers (approximately 1≤Re≤100), where numerical integration of the complete Navier-Stokes equations is necessary, there are solutions of special cases of the problem —flow of air around a solid sphere [5–7], a gas bubble [8, 9], and water drops [10]. The present paper deals with flow around a spherical drop at intermediate Reynolds numbers up to Re=200 for arbitrary values of the ratio of dynamic viscosities Μ=Μ1/Μ2 inside and outside the drop. It is shown that a return flow can arise behind the drop in flow without separation. In such conditions the circulatory flow inside the drop breaks up. An approximate formula for the drag coefficient of the drop is given.