Emergence of singular structures in Oldroyd-B fluids

Becca Thomases, Michael Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerical simulations reveal the formation of singular structures in the polymer stress field of a viscoelastic fluid modeled by the Oldroyd-B equations driven by a simple body force. These singularities emerge exponentially in time at hyperbolic stagnation points in the flow and their algebraic structure depends critically on the Weissenberg number. Beyond a first critical Weissenberg number the stress field approaches a cusp singularity, and beyond a second critical Weissenberg number the stress becomes unbounded exponentially in time. A local approximation to the solution at the hyperbolic point is derived from a simple ansatz, and there is excellent agreement between the local solution and the simulations. Although the stress field becomes unbounded for a sufficiently large Weissenberg number, the resultant forces of stress grow subexponentially. Enforcing finite polymer chain lengths via a FENE-P penalization appears to keep the stress bounded, but a cusp singularity is still approached exponentially in time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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