Stationary configurations of point vortices

Author:
Kevin Anthony O’Neil

Journal:
Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. **302** (1987), 383-425

MSC:
Primary 76C05; Secondary 58F05, 58F40

DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1090/S0002-9947-1987-0891628-1

MathSciNet review:
891628

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Abstract: The motion of point vortices in a plane of fluid is an old problem of fluid mechanics, which was given a Hamiltonian formulation by Kirchhoff. Stationary configurations are those which remain self-similar throughout the motion.

Results of two types are presented. Configurations which are in equilibrium or which translate uniformly are counted using methods of algebraic geometry, which establish necessary and sufficient conditions for existence.

Relative equilibria (rigidly rotating configurations) which lie on a line are studied using a topological construction applicable to other power-law systems. Upper and lower bounds for such configurations are found for vortices with mixed circulations.

Arrangements of three vortices which collide in finite time are well known. One-dimensional families of such configurations are shown to exist for more than three vortices.

Stationary configurations of four vortices are examined in detail.

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DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1090/S0002-9947-1987-0891628-1

Article copyright:
© Copyright 1987
American Mathematical Society