The unsteady flow due to an impulsively rotated sphere

Sophie A W Calabretto, Benjamin Levy, James P. Denier*, Trent W. Mattner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the flow induced by a sphere, contained in an otherwise quiescent body of fluid, that is suddenly imparted with angular momentum. This classical problem is known to exhibit a finite-time singularity in the boundary-layer equations, due to the viscous boundary layer, induced by the sudden rotation, colliding at the sphere's equator. We consider this flow from the perspective of the post-collision dynamics, showing that the collision gives rises to a radial jet headed by a swirling toroidal starting vortex pair. The starting vortex propagates away from the sphere and, in doing so, loses angular momentum. The jet, in turn, develops an absolute instability which propagates back towards the sphere's equator. The starting vortex pair detaches from the jet and expands as a coherent (non-swirling) toroidal vortex pair.We also present results of some new experiments which show good qualitative agreement with our computational results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150299
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2181
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The unsteady flow due to an impulsively rotated sphere'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this