Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 746752, 18 pages
Research Article

Application of the Poor Man's Navier-Stokes Equations to Real-Time Control of Fluid Flow

1Department of Civil Engineering, City College of the City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
2Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA

Received 3 May 2012; Revised 17 July 2012; Accepted 17 July 2012

Academic Editor: Zhiwei Gao

Copyright © 2012 James B. Polly and J. M. McDonough. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Control of fluid flow is an important, underutilized process possessing potential benefits ranging from avoidance of separation and stall on aircraft wings to reduction of friction in oil and gas pipelines to mitigation of noise from wind turbines. But the Navier-Stokes (N.-S.) equations, whose solutions describe such flows, consist of a system of time-dependent, multidimensional, nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) which cannot be solved in real time using current computing hardware. The poor man's Navier-Stokes (PMNS) equations comprise a discrete dynamical system that is algebraic—hence, easily (and rapidly) solved—and yet which retains many (possibly all) of the temporal behaviors of the PDE N.-S. system at specific spatial locations. Herein, we outline derivation of these equations and discuss their basic properties. We consider application of these equations to the control problem by adding a control force. We examine the range of behaviors that can be achieved by changing this control force and, in particular, consider controllability of this (nonlinear) system via numerical experiments. Moreover, we observe that the derivation leading to the PMNS equations is very general and may be applied to a wide variety of problems governed by PDEs and (possibly) time-delay ordinary differential equations such as, for example, models of machining processes.