Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

The Effective Field Theory Approach to Fluid Dynamics

Endlich, Solomon

In this thesis we initiate a systematic study of fluid dynamics using the effective field theory (EFT) program. We consider the canonical quantization of an ordinary fluid in an attempt to discover if there is some kind of quantum mechanical inconsistency with ordinary fluids at zero temperature. The system exhibits a number of peculiarities associated with the vortex degrees of freedom. We also study the dynamics of a nearly incompressible fluid via (classical) effective field theory. In the kinematical regime corresponding to near incompressibility (small fluid velocities and accelerations), compressional modes are, by definition, difficult to excite, and can be dealt with perturbatively. We systematically outline the corresponding perturbative expansion, which can be thought of as an expansion in the ratio of fluid velocity and speed of sound. This perturbation theory allows us to compute many interesting quantities associated with sound-flow interactions. Additionally, we also improve on the so-called vortex filament model, by providing a local field theory describing the dynamics of vortex-line systems and their interaction with sound, to all orders in perturbation theory. Next, we develop a cosmological model where primordial inflation is driven by a 'solid'. The low energy EFT describing such a system is just a less symmetric version of the action of a fluid---it lacks the volume preserving diffeomorphism. The symmetry breaking pattern of this system differs drastically from that of standard inflationary models: time translations are unbroken. This prevents our model from fitting into the standard effective field theory description of adiabatic perturbations, with crucial consequences for the dynamics of cosmological perturbations. And finally, we introduce dissipative effects in the effective field theory of hydrodynamics. We do this in a model-independent fashion by coupling the long-distance degrees of freedom explicitly kept in the effective field theory to a generic sector that "lives in the fluid'', which corresponds physically to the microscopic constituents of the fluid. At linear order in perturbations, the symmetries, the derivative expansion, and the assumption that this microscopic sector is thermalized, allow us to characterize the leading dissipative effects at low frequencies via three parameters only, which correspond to bulk viscosity, shear viscosity, and---in the presence of a conserved charge---heat conduction. Using our methods we re-derive the Kubo relations for these transport coefficients.


  • thumnail for Endlich_columbia_0054D_11353.pdf Endlich_columbia_0054D_11353.pdf application/pdf 10.2 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Nicolis, Alberto
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 23, 2013