Acta Mathematica Sinica

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 207-218

First online:

Boundary Layer Theory and the Zero-Viscosity Limit of the Navier-Stokes Equation

  • E WeinanAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics and Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University Email author 

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A central problem in the mathematical analysis of fluid dynamics is the asymptotic limit of the fluid flow as viscosity goes to zero. This is particularly important when boundaries are present since vorticity is typically generated at the boundary as a result of boundary layer separation. The boundary layer theory, developed by Prandtl about a hundred years ago, has become a standard tool in addressing these questions. Yet at the mathematical level, there is still a lack of fundamental understanding of these questions and the validity of the boundary layer theory. In this article, we review recent progresses on the analysis of Prandtl's equation and the related issue of the zero-viscosity limit for the solutions of the Navier-Stokes equation. We also discuss some directions where progress is expected in the near future.


Boundary layer Blow-up Zero-viscosity limit Prandtl’s equation

1991 MR Subject Classification

35B05 76D10