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Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2009, Article ID 524307, 17 pages
Research Article

An Application of Homotopy Analysis to the Viscous Flow Past a Circular Cylinder

Department of Mathematics, University of Benin, Benin-City, P.M.B 1154, Nigeria

Received 19 July 2008; Accepted 6 April 2009

Academic Editor: Bernard Geurts

Copyright © 2009 E. O. Ifidon. 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.


We consider the application of a new analytic method based on homotopy analysis to the solution of the steady flow of a viscous incompressible fluid past a fixed circular cylinder. The solutions obtained using this method produce some interesting results. For instance, an analytic verification of the critical Reynolds number 𝑅 𝑑 for which a standing vortex first appears behind the cylinder is given for the first time and found to be 𝑅 𝑑 2 . 4 . Since these values of the critical Reynolds number are beyond the range of validity of Oseen theory, no analytic verification of this value had previously been given. As a check on the accuracy of the solutions, the calculated drag coefficients at 6th-order approximation are found to agree reasonably well with experimental measurements for 𝑅 𝑑 3 0 which is considerably larger than the 𝑅 𝑑 1 results currently available using other analytic techniques. This buttresses the usefulness of the homotopy analysis method (HAM) as an important tool in solving highly nonlinear problems.