Similarity solutions for unsteady stagnation point flow

D. Kolomenskiy, H. K. Moffatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A class of similarity solutions for two-dimensional unsteady flow in the neighbourhood of a front or rear stagnation point on a plane boundary is considered, and a wide range of possible behaviour is revealed, depending on whether the flow in the far field is accelerating or decelerating. The solutions, when they exist, are exact solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations, having a boundary-layer character analogous to that of the classical steady front stagnation point flow. The velocity profiles are obtained by numerical integration of a nonlinear ordinary differential equation. For the front-flow situation, the solution is unique for the accelerating case, but bifurcates for modest deceleration, while for sufficient rapid deceleration there exists a one-parameter family of solutions. For the rear-flow situation, a unique solution exists (remarkably!) for sufficiently strong acceleration, and a one-parameter family again exists for sufficient strong deceleration. Analytic results, which are consistent with the numerical results, are obtained in the limits of strong acceleration or deceleration, and for the asymptotic behaviour far from the boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-410
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • boundary layer structure
  • general fluid mechanics
  • Navier-Stokes equations


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