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Upper convected time derivative

In continuum mechanics, including fluid dynamics upper convected time derivative or Oldroyd derivative is the rate of change of some tensor property of a small parcel of fluid that is written in the coordinate system rotating and stretching with the fluid.

The operator is specified by the following formula:

\mathbf{A}^{\nabla} = \frac{D}{Dt} \mathbf{A} - (\nabla \mathbf{v})^T \cdot \mathbf{A} - \mathbf{A} \cdot (\nabla \mathbf{v})


  • \mathbf{A}^{\nabla} is the Upper convected time derivative of a tensor field \mathbf{A}
  • \frac{D}{Dt} is the Substantive derivative
  • \nabla \mathbf{v}=\frac {\partial v_j}{\partial x_i} is the tensor of velocity derivatives for the fluid.

The formula can be rewritten as:

{A}^{\nabla}_{i,j} = \frac {\partial A_{i,j}} {\partial t} + v_k \frac {\partial A_{i,j}} {\partial x_k} - \frac {\partial v_i} {\partial x_k} A_{k,j} - \frac {\partial v_j} {\partial x_k} A_{i,k}

By definition the upper convected time derivative of the Finger tensor is always zero.

The upper convected derivatives is widely use in polymer rheology for the description of behavior of a visco-elastic fluid under large deformations.

Additional recommended knowledge


Examples for the symmetric tensor A

Simple shear

For the case of simple shear:

\nabla \mathbf{v} = \begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0 & 0 \\ {\dot \gamma} & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 \end{pmatrix}


\mathbf{A}^{\nabla} = \frac{D}{Dt} \mathbf{A}-\dot \gamma \begin{pmatrix} 2 A_{12} & A_{22} & A_{23} \\ A_{22} & 0 & 0 \\ A_{23} & 0 & 0 \end{pmatrix}

Uniaxial extension of uncompressible fluid

In this case a material is stretched in the direction X and compresses in the direction s Y and Z, so to keep volume constant. The gradients of velocity are:

\nabla \mathbf{v} = \begin{pmatrix} \dot \epsilon & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & -\frac {\dot \epsilon} {2} & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & -\frac{\dot \epsilon} 2 \end{pmatrix}


\mathbf{A}^{\nabla} = \frac{D}{Dt} \mathbf{A}-\frac {\dot \epsilon} 2 \begin{pmatrix} 4A_{11} & A_{12} & A_{13} \\ A_{12} & -2A_{22} & -2A_{23} \\ A_{13} & -2A_{23} & -2A_{33} \end{pmatrix}

See also


  • Macosko, Christopher (1993). Rheology. Principles, Measurements and Applications. VCH Publisher. ISBN 1-56081-579-5. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Upper_convected_time_derivative". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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