A weak-coupling expansion for viscoelastic fluids applied to dynamic settling of a body

Matthew N.J. Moore, Michael J. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The flow of viscoelastic fluids is an area in which analytical results are difficult to attain, yet can provide invaluable information. We develop a weak-coupling expansion that allows for semi-analytical computations of viscoelastic fluid flows coupled to immersed structures. In our method, a leading-order polymeric stress evolves according to a Newtonian velocity field, and this stress is used to correct the motion of bodies. We apply the method to the transient problem of a sphere settling through a viscoelastic fluid using the Oldroyd-B model, and recover previous results and observed behavior. The theory presented here is in contrast to the retarded-motion, or low-Weissenberg-number, expansions that have seen much application. One advantage of the weak-coupling method is that it offers information for Weissenberg numbers larger than one. The expansion's limit of validity is closely related to the diluteness criterion of a Boger fluid. We extend the classical settling problem to include an oscillatory body-force, and show how the introduction of a second time-scale modifies the body-dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Birefringent strand
  • Boger fluid
  • Lagrangian method
  • Oldroyd-B
  • Transient velocity overshoot
  • Weak-coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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