Incompressible fluid problems on embedded surfaces: Modeling and variational formulations

  • Thomas Jankuhn

    RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • Maxim A. Olshanskii

    University of Houston, USA
  • Arnold Reusken

    RWTH Aachen, Germany


Governing equations of motion for a viscous incompressible material surface are derived from the balance laws of continuum mechanics. The surface is treated as a time-dependent smooth orientable manifold of codimension one in an ambient Euclidian space. We use elementary tangential calculus to derive the governing equations in terms of exterior differential operators in Cartesian coordinates. The resulting equations can be seen as the Navier–Stokes equations posed on an evolving manifold. We consider a splitting of the surface Navier–Stokes system into coupled equations for the tangential and normal motions of the material surface. We then restrict ourselves to the case of a geometrically stationary manifold of codimension one embedded in . For this case, we present new well-posedness results for the simplified surface fluid model consisting of the surface Stokes equations. Finally, we propose and analyze several alternative variational formulations for this surface Stokes problem, including constrained and penalized formulations, which are convenient for Galerkin discretization methods.

Cite this article

Thomas Jankuhn, Maxim A. Olshanskii, Arnold Reusken, Incompressible fluid problems on embedded surfaces: Modeling and variational formulations. Interfaces Free Bound. 20 (2018), no. 3, pp. 353–377

DOI 10.4171/IFB/405