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Published February 28, 2023 | Accepted Version
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The potentially singular behavior of the 3D Navier-Stokes equations

Hou, Thomas Y.


Whether the 3D incompressible Navier-Stokes equations can develop a finite time singularity from smooth initial data is one of the most challenging problems in nonlinear PDEs. In this paper, we present some new numerical evidence that the incompressible axisymmetric Navier-Stokes equations with smooth initial data of finite energy seem to develop potentially singular behavior at the origin. This potentially singular behavior is induced by a potential finite time singularity of the 3D Euler equations that we reported in the companion paper (arXiv:2107.05870). We present numerical evidence that the 3D Navier--Stokes equations develop nearly self-similar singular scaling properties with maximum vorticity increased by a factor of 10⁷. We have applied several blow-up criteria to study the potentially singular behavior of the Navier--Stokes equations. The Beale-Kato-Majda blow-up criterion and the blow-up criteria based on the growth of enstrophy and negative pressure seem to imply that the Navier--Stokes equations using our initial data develop a potential finite time singularity. We have also examined the Ladyzhenskaya-Prodi-Serrin regularity criteria. Our numerical results for the cases of (p,q) = (4,8), (6,4), (9,3) and (p,q) = (∞,2) provide strong evidence for the potentially singular behavior of the Navier--Stokes equations. Our numerical study shows that while the global L^3 norm of the velocity grows very slowly, the localized version of the L³ norm of the velocity experiences rapid dynamic growth relative to the localized L³ norm of the initial velocity. This provides further evidence for the potentially singular behavior of the NavieStokes equations.

Additional Information

The research was in part supported by NSF Grants DMS-1907977 and DMS-1912654, and the Choi Family Gift Fund. I would like to thank Professor Vladimir Sverak, Dr. De Huang and Jiajie Chen for a number of stimulating discussions. I would also like to thank the referees and Jiajie Chen for their very constructive comments and suggestions, which significantly improves the quality of this paper. Finally, I have benefited a lot from the AIM SQarRE "Towards a 3D Euler singularity", which has generated many stimulating discussions related to the 3D Euler singularity.

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Accepted Version - 2107.06509.pdf


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Additional details

August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023