Uniform flow past a rigid sphere by the spectral numerical methods
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A steady, axially symmetric, incompressible, viscous flow past a rigid sphere is numerically simulated by using a numerical scheme, based on spectral methods. The equations have been reduced to two sets of nonlinear second order partial differential equations in terms of vorticity and stream function. The calculations have been carried out for Reynolds numbers, based on the sphere diameter, in the range 0.1 to 104. The numerical results have verified that there is excellent agreement with Stokes theory at very low Reynolds numbers. At moderate to intermediate Reynolds numbers there is good general agreement with available experimental data and flow visualization pictures. The Reynolds number at which separation occurs is estimated as 20. The approach to boundary-layer behavior with increasing Reynolds numbers is also verified by comparison with potential flow theory and analytical boundary-layer solution.
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