Existence of vortex sheets with re ection
symmetry in two space dimensions
M C Lopes Filho
H J Nussenzveig Lopes
Zhouping Xin
The main purpose of this work is to establish existence of a weak
solution to the incompressible D Euler equations with initial vortic
ity consisting of a Radon measure with distinguished sign in
compactly supported in the closed right half plane superimposed to
its odd re ection in the left half plane We make use of a new a pri
ori estimate to control the interaction between positive and negative
vorticity at the symmetry axis We prove that a weak limit of a se
quence of approximations obtained by either regularizing the initial
data or by the vanishing viscosity method is a weak solution of the
incompressible D Euler equations We also establish the equivalence
at the level of weak solutions between mirror symmetric ows in the
full plane and ows in the half plane Finally we extend our exis
tence result to odd perturbations without distinguished sign of
our original initial vorticity
Con tents

Symmetric smooth solutions 


A priori estimates in the inviscid case 


Convergence theorem 


The method of images 


Viscous approximations 


Extensions and conclusions 

In troduction
In J M Delort proved existence of weak solutions to the incompressible
D Euler equations with vortex sheet initial data under the assumption that
the initial vorticity be the sum of a Radon measure with distinguished sign
and an arbitrary L p function p see This result was later proved in
di erent ways see extended to p see and to the conver
gence to a weak solution of approximations generated by vanishing viscosity
see Delort s result was also extended to convergence of approxima
tions obtained by vortex methods see The problem of existence
for vortex sheet initial data without the distinguished sign assumption has
remained open The distinguished sign hypothesis is needed because under
it conservation of energy implies the avoidance of concentrations in vorticity
see However the distinguished sign assumption is a signi cant
restriction on the scope of the available theory because important features
of irregular ow seem to be connected with intricate intertwining of regions
of positive and negative vorticity
In the present work we will prove an existence result for ows with initial
vorticity which is odd with respect to a straight line and which is of a
distinguished sign on each side of the line Setting the initial data in this
way creates a situation where vorticity of di erent signs is allowed to interact
but not to intertwine This is the rst instance where the global in time
existence of vortex sheet evolution is rigorously established with vorticity
density changing sign albeit under very special circumstances The di culty
is to show that vorticity concentration does not occur along the symmetry
axis The key new ingredient in our proof is an a priori estimate on the
velocity at the symmetry axis which allows us to control the interaction
between positive and negative vorticity Our result shows that the di culty
in the analytical treatment of vortex sheets without distinguished sign stems
from the intertwining of the positive and negative vorticity and not merely
from their interaction One concrete situation where a vortex sheet initial
data problem with re ection symmetry appears is the modelling of the wake
due to an elliptically loaded airplane wing in the Tre tz plane as done by
R Krasny in
The incompressible D Euler equations are covariant with respect to re
ection symmetry This means that a smooth solution of the equations on
a half plane may be extended by re ection to a smooth solution in the full
plane This observation is imbedded in the method of images see Thus
a natural approach to our existence problem would be to extend Delort s
existence theory to ows in the half plane and use the covariance of the D
Euler equations with respect to the re ection symmetry in order to obtain
a symmetric weak solution in the full plane This approach does not work
The extension of Delort s theorem for bounded domains to half plane ows
is rather routine without any new additional estimates compared with the
case without boundaries However the weak solution thus obtained assumes
the boundary condition velocity tangent to the boundary in a way that is
not strong enough to guarantee that the ow constructed by re ection is a
weak solution in the full plane
For ows in a bounded domain Delort s theorem guarantees the existence
of a weak solution in an interior sense i e the solution satis es the weak
formulation of the equations with respect to test functions that are com
pactly supported in the interior of the domain and it satis es the boundary
condition in a trace sense On one hand the boundary condition is linear
and hence it is well behaved with respect to weak convergence which is nec
essary in Delort s treatment of boundaries On the other hand this separate
treatment of the boundary condition leaves open the possibility of vortic
ity concentrating at the boundary We introduce another notion of weak
solution which we call boundary coupled weak solution where we use test
functions that vanish at the boundary but not their derivatives We prove
that the existence of a re ection symmetric weak solution to the full plane
problem is equivalent to the existence of a boundary coupled weak solution
to the half plane problem One corollary of this result together with the ex
istence of a weak solution to the full plane problem with re ection symmetry
is that there exists a boundary coupled weak solution to the incompressible
D Euler equations in the half plane with nonnegative measures as initial
vorticity
The problem of existence of vortex sheet evolution must be understood in
the context of the pioneering work of R DiPerna and A Majda in
The concern with concentrations in kinetic energy which lies at the core of
their analysis has played no role in our work in the same way that it was
not present in Delort s work Energy concentration is possible and in fact
it is an outstanding open problem whether it does actually occur dynami
cally Rather our analysis revolves around the possibility of concentrations
in vorticity This was already the case with Delort s work as explained by
S Schochet in one key fact in Delort s result is that concentrations in
vorticity are excluded by logarithmic decay of circulation in small circles
The main result in is a concentration cancellation theorem in which
approximate vorticities which concentrate at a single point x x t with
x aC function of time are shown to possess a weak limit which is a
weak solution In contrast our theorem is not a concentration cancellation
result Although vorticity concentrations are not ruled out the possibility
of their occurrence is bypassed We show that in a time averaged sense no
concentrations occur This is enough to pass to the limit in the nonlinear
term of the weak vorticity formulation
The remainder of this article is divided in six sections In the rst one we
construct symmetric smooth solutions In the second one we obtain the new
a priori estimate that makes our analysis possible In the third section we
construct inviscid approximate solution sequences and we apply the a priori
estimates obtained in the second section to the weak vorticity formulation
proving our main existence result In the fourth section we prove the validity
of the method of images obtaining existence of a boundary coupled weak
solution for the half plane problem In Section we prove the convergence
of a subsequence of the viscous approximations to a weak solution in the
full plane and in the last section we extend our main result to odd L
perturbations without sign restriction of the initial vorticities previously
considered and present our conclusions
Symmetric smooth solutions
In order to construct symmetric weak solutions to the D Euler system we
must rst be able to construct symmetric approximate solution sequences
In this article we consider two families of approximate solution sequences
obtained by mollifying the initial data and either exactly solving the Euler
equations or exactly solving the Navier Stokes equations It is easy to mollify
preserving the symmetry of the initial data so that we need to show that
the Navier Stokes and the Euler systems preserve the symmetry This can be
accomplished by a standard energy estimate argument which we will outline
below
The D incompressible Navier Stokes equations in the full plane and in
vorticity form are given by
t u r
in
div u
curl u in
x x in
juj x t
as jxj
The incompressible D Euler equations in vorticity form correspond to
If is smooth and compactly supported then for any there
exists a unique smooth solution to the problem above see It is easy
to see that the solution is also compactly supported in space for all time if
If x t is exponentially decaying as jxj This is a
consequence of the properties of the parametrix for the linearized parabolic
problem see
The elliptic system div u curl u in the full plane together
with the condition juj at can be inverted explicitly so as to express
velocity in terms of vorticity by
u x t K t x Z yj y t dy
jx
x y
with z z z z This identity is called the Biot Savart law Using
the Biot Savart law the system becomes a scalar nonlocal equation with
the vorticity as the single unknown
De nition A Radon measure BM is said to be NMS nonneg
ative mirror symmetric if restricted to the right half plane fx g is
nonnegative and is odd with respect to the fx g axis i e the duality
pairing h i vanishes for any C which is even with respect to the
rst variable
We will use the following notation for the mirror symmetry x x x
x x x We note that the restriction of a bounded Radon measure
in the plane to any open subset of the plane with smooth boundary gives
rise to a bounded Radon measure on This is an immediate consequence
of the characterization of BM as the dual of the space C the closure
of C with respect to the sup norm
c
Proposition L et and let C be NMS If x t is
c
the unique solution of with initial data then t is NMS for al l
t
Proof De ne x t x t x t so that x
e
e
Then satis es the following equation
e
t x t
e
u x t r x t
e
x t u x t r x t u x t r x t
e
We rewrite the r h s of this equation using the explicit form of the
Biot Savart law to obtain
t x t u x t r x t x t K x t r x t
e
e
e
e
Multiply this identity by integrate by parts over all to obtain
e
d
dt k
k
e
L Z x t r x t dx
K
e
e
k
k L kK
e
k L p p kr k L p
e
where p is arbitrary The exponent p p is precisely the critical
Sobolev exponent corresponding to p p p Therefore since p
one can use the Hardy Littlewood Sobolev inequality see Proposition
to get
kK
e k L p p C p k
e k L p
In the case t has compact support and hence the L p norm
e
above is dominated by the L norm so that by Gronwall s inequality
e
vanishes identically This means that t is odd with respect to the rst
variable which implies by the explicit form of the Biot Savart law that u is
tangent to the fx g axis so that each half plane is invariant under the
ow Hence t is nonnegative in the right half plane so that t is
NMS
If one can use the exponential decay of t at in nity and
e
Holder s inequality to conclude that
k
k L p C R k k L e KR
e
e
where C K are positive constants R R for R su ciently big and
p p so that One inputs this information into
the di erential inequality and uses Gronwall s inequality to conclude that
e
t k KR for arbitrary R R so that Finally we
k e
L Ce
e
observe that x t is now odd with respect to x so that x t
Hence satis es a linear Fokker Planck equation on the half plane
with a homogeneous Dirichlet boundary condition and nonnegative initial
condition By the maximum principle the nonnegativity is preserved for
future times so that is NMS in this case as well
A priori estimates in the inviscid case
We consider the problem of existence of a weak solution to the incompressible
D Euler equations in the full plane with initial velocity u L such
that the vorticity curl u is NMS and compactly supported We will
look for solutions satisfying the weak vorticity formulation of the equations
as was introduced by S Schochet in which we make explicit in the
de nition below
First we note that if BM then it is possible to make sense of K
as a distribution To see this observe that the map K is a continuous
linear operator from C into C where C denotes the continuous
c
functions vanishing at in nity Hence using that K z K z we may
de ne K as a distribution by the relation
hK i h K i
De nition We say that L BM is a weak solution of the
incompressible D Euler equations with initial data BM c H
if
a the velocity u K L L and
b
for any test function C we have
c
Z
Z t x t dxdt Z Z Z H x y t x t y t dydxdt
Z x x dx
wher e
H x y t r x t r y t x y
jx yj
jx yj
We wil l say that is a nite energy weak solution if it is a weak solution
with u L L
Remark The derivation of the relation above for smooth solutions is
contained in We abuse notation several times in the de nition since
is only a parametrized family of measures and not a function It is the
content of Lemma in that for a given weak solution in the sense above
one can construct a classical weak solution for the velocity formulation of the
Euler equations since the velocity being in L loc implies that the vorticity has
no discrete part
To prove our main existence result we will require a new a priori estimate
for the smooth symmetric solutions of the inviscid problem whose existence
we examined in Proposition
Lemma Let be a smooth compactly supported function which is NMS
Let u u u and be the smooth solution of the inviscid vorticity equation
with initial data If x x is a smooth function with
bounded derivatives up to second order in the closed right half plane then
d
dt Z x
Z
x x t dx u x t x x dx
Z x
u u x x u u x x x x dx
Proof We recall that since has compact support and total mass zero it
follows that u t L and that juj t O jxj as jxj With
this we have
d
dt Z
Z
x x t dx dx
Z Z
t dx dx Z div u dx dx
Z
Z Z
Z fjxj R x g u
u r dx dx lim
R
b ndS
Z
Z
u
r dx dx
since the boundary terms vanish due to t having compact support to
gether with the fact that u n u on the boundary x which also
b
vanishes We re write the term u r as u r div u and integrate by
parts to obtain
Z r u r u dx dx lim
Z
R
Z fjxj R x g u r u
ndS
b
Z Z
r u r u dx dx Z fx g u r u dS
Z Z
r u r u dx dx Z u x t x x dx
Z
r juj
Z
r u u
x x u u x x x x dx dx
Z u x t x x dx lim
R
Z fjxj R x g
juj
r
ndS
b
Z
Z
u u x x u u x x x x dx dx
Z
Z
Z u x t x x dx
u u x x u u x x x x dx dx
u x t x x dx
Z
as we wished
R emark This lemma is inspired on an a priori estimate derived by D
Chae and O Y Imanuvilov in for D axisymmetric inviscid ow
Lemma used with arctan x integrated in time yields for any
L the following a priori estimate on u x t
Z Z
L
T
L
ju x t j dx dt C
with C depending on k k L ku k L T and L We will use this a priori
estimate to show that the total mass of vorticity in a disk around a point on
the interface fx g decays as the disk shrinks to a point More precisely
we have
Lemma L et u be the smooth solution of in Lemma Set
x a If L and are such that a a L L
then
Z B x j y t jdy C p Z L ju x t j dx
L
where C is a universal constant
Proof Let us begin by noting that by the Biot Savart law the tangential
component of velocity on fx g under the symmetry considered is
u x t Z
Z
y
x y y t dy dy
y
and hence is nonpositive Therefore we have
Z
a
a
ju x t jdx Z
a Z
a
Z
y
x y y t dy dy dx
y
Z
Z
y t y
Z
a
a
Z
Z


y 
x y dx dy dy 

y t g y 
y dy 


where g y y arctan a y arctan a y
y
y
Z fjy x j y g y t g y y
dy
since in fy g
Next consider for any xed h the function f h z arctan z
h arctan z h with jz j h It is easy to check that in this range
f h z arctan h Now if y y y fjy x j y g then clearly
j a y y j and y If we set h y and z a y y then
y
we have g y y f h z arctan h arctan We have hence
Z
a
a ju x t jdx
C
Z B x j y t jdy
arctan
Z fjy x j y g y t dy
On the other hand using the Cauchy Schwartz inequality we obtain
Z
a
a
ju x t jdx C p Z ju x t j dx
a
a
which together with gives what we wish as long as a a L L
Observe that the result in Lemma concerns only the Biot Savart law
Convergence theorem
The objective of this section is to prove the existence of an NMS weak solution
of the incompressible D Euler equations in the sense of De nition with
NMS initial vorticity We begin with the construction of an approximate
solution sequence by mollifying the initial vorticity and exactly solving the
Euler equations
Let r C be nonnegative monotonic decreasing inside
c
its support with total integral and x the Friedrichs molli er x
jxj
Let BM c H be NMS Consider the sequence of smooth
compactly supported functions f g obtained by convolving with n
n
n x n nx Let u n K and let u n n be the smooth solution
n
of with initial data
n
In Section C DiPerna and Majda proved that the sequences fu n g
and f n g are an approximate solution sequence in the sense of De nition
in Since is NMS the total mass of is automatically zero As
n
DiPerna and Majda observe is uniformly bounded in L and since
n
has total mass zero u n is uniformly bounded in L Due to our choice
n
of monotonic circularly symmetric molli ers the are NMS Indeed the
n
mirror symmetry is an obvious consequence of the circular symmetry of
whereas the sign condition follows from straightforward pointwise estimates
on n using both the symmetry and the monotonicity of Therefore
by Proposition the n t are NMS for all time
It was shown in that the following estimates hold for any T
E sup t T k n t k L C
E sup t T ku n t k L C
E There exists M such that fu n g is uniformly bounded in
M
Lip T H
loc
We x the approximate solution sequence fu n g f n g throughout this
section
The key issue in the proof of existence as formulated by Schochet in
is the possibility of concentrations in the sequence of vorticities In order to
control the occurrence of concentrations in the sequence f n g we will put
together the a priori estimate derived in the previous section with a version
of 
the log decay of circulation in small circles rst observed by A Majda 
in 
The a priori logarithmic decay in circulation turns out to be a lo cal 
feature of ows with distinguished sign vorticity which was pointed out by
Schochet in this locality is crucial to our analysis
Lemma For every T and K compact there exists a constant
C such that for every
Z T
sup Z B x j n y t jdy dt C j log j
x
K
Proof Let R be such that K B R We recall an estimate due to
S Schochet see Theorem estimate of
Z x y n y t dy Cku n t k L j log j
where was de ned as
z
if jz j
log p jzj
log p
if jz j p
if jz j p
It can be easily seen that if x b c with jbj p then B x p
fx g fx g and therefore since n t is of a distinguished sign in
this disk we get
Z B x j n y t jdy C j log j
b y estimate E
Let a and L be such that a a L L It
follows from Lemma and Lemma that
Z Z
L
T
L
ju n x t j dx dt C k k L T L C
n
k
L ku n
Z B a j n y t jdy C p Z x t j dx
L
L
ju n
for any T using E and E in
Now let x b c with jbj p Then
B x B c jbj and
jcj R Therefore using with a c and jbj p since
we have
Z B x j n y t jdy Z B c jbj j n y t jdy
C p Z x t j dx
R
ju
n
R
since c jbj c jbj R R
Therefore
sup Z B x j n y t jdy max n C j log j C p ku n
x
K
t k L R R o
C j log j ku n
t k L R R
We integrate in time over T and use to conclude the proof
We recognize the result above as describing the absence of concentra
tions in a time averaged sense If instead of the integral in time we had
the same estimate pointwise almost everywhere in time then our main ex
istence result would follow from Lemma in However the integral
estimate in Lemma does not imply the a e in time pointwise boundedness
of sup x K R B x j n y t jdy or in simpler terms one cannot from a sequence
bounded in L T extract a subsequence which is a e pointwise bounded
in T see
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