Skip to main content

Minkowski and Galilei/Newton Fluid Dynamics: A Geometric 3+1 Spacetime Perspective...

by Christian Y Cardall
Publication Type
Journal Name
Publication Date
Page Number

A kinetic theory of classical particles serves as a unified basis for developing a geometric 3+1 spacetime perspective on fluid dynamics capable of embracing both Minkowski and Galilei/Newton spacetimes. Parallel treatment of these cases on as common a footing as possible reveals that the particle four-momentum is better regarded as comprising momentum and inertia rather than momentum and energy; and, consequently, that the object now known as the stress-energy or energy-momentum tensor is more properly understood as a stress-inertia or inertia-momentum tensor. In dealing with both fiducial and comoving frames as fluid dynamics requires, tensor decompositions in terms of the four-velocities of observers associated with these frames render use of coordinate-free geometric notation not only fully viable, but conceptually simplifying. A particle number four-vector, three-momentum (1,1) tensor, and kinetic energy four-vector characterize a simple fluid and satisfy balance equations involving spacetime divergences on both Minkowski and Galilei/Newton spacetimes. Reduced to a fully 3+1 form, these equations yield the familiar conservative formulations of special relativistic and non-relativistic fluid dynamics as partial differential equations in inertial coordinates, and in geometric form will provide a useful conceptual bridge to arbitrary-Lagrange–Euler and general relativistic formulations.