Potential Flow Applet

*** This is a mirror page of the above link ***

by Kenneth G. Powell

This is beta version 1.0.

This applet is a potential-flow laboratory; a student can build up incompressible, irrotational flows by superposition of a free-stream velocity and various singular solutions to Laplace's equation (sources, sinks, vortices and doublets). Once the flow is built up, the student can visualize the flow, by plotting streamlines, velocity vectors and isopotential lines. The student can also use animation to visualize the flow, seeing how bubbles are convected by the flow, and how a fluid element is convected and deformed. In addition, the local velocity and pressure coefficient are tracked as a function of the mouse location.

Choose Build New Flow to build up a flow from its flow elements. The location of the flow elements can be set with the mouse, or, if more precision is desired, by entering the coordinates via keyboard input. Any combination of singularities and free-stream is allowed. A "classic" combination is that of a free-stream, and a vortex and a doublet at the origin. This gives the potential flow about a rotating cylinder. After the flow is built up, the student can analyze the flow, by plotting static quantities (Plot Flow Quantities) or animating the flow with bubbles or fluid elements (Animate Flow). If, at any time, the student wants to add more singularities to the flow, that can be done by choosing Modify Existing Flow.

This applet was inspired by the PotFlow module of the TODOR software, which was developed at MIT.

Potential Flow Applet

Potential Flow Applet


We appreciate any comments recieved concerning this applet. If you would like to send comments or suggestions, please address your e-mail to Prof. Kenneth Powell at

Thank you.