Variational properties of steady fall in Stokes flow

H. F. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


It is shown that for a given body and a given orientation g there is always a position of the centre of mass which produces a stable falling motion in a very viscous fluid with g vertical and, in general, with a spin about the vertical axis. The corresponding terminal settling speed is bounded by means of several variational principles. Relations between the terminal speeds for falls with different downward directions and between the terminal speed and the geometry of the body are deduced. In particular, it is proved that for a large class of slender bodies the first approximation to the drag obtained from the slender-body theory of Burgers (1938) is correct. It follows that the ratio of the terminal speeds for falls with the long axis vertical and horizontal is near two.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-344
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 28 1972


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