Stokes formula

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A formula that expresses the connection between the flow of a vector field through a two-dimensional oriented manifold and the circulation of this field along the correspondingly oriented boundary of this manifold. Let be an oriented piecewise-smooth surface, let be the unit normal to (at those points, of course, where it exists), which defines the orientation of , and let the boundary of consist of a finite number of piecewise-smooth contours. The boundary of is denoted by , and is oriented by means of the unit tangent vector , such that the orientation of obtained is compatible with the orientation of .

If is a continuously-differentiable vector field in a neighbourhood of , then


( is the area element of , is the differential of the arc length of the boundary of ) or, in coordinate form,

Stated by G. Stokes (1854).

Stokes' formula is also the name given to a generalization of formula , which represents the equality between the integral of the exterior differential of a differential form over an oriented compact manifold and the integral of the form itself along the boundary of (the orientation of is taken to be compatible with that of ):

Other particular cases of this formula are the Newton–Leibniz formula, the Green formulas and the Ostrogradski formula.



[a1] V.I. Arnol'd, "Mathematical methods of classical mechanics" , Springer (1978) (Translated from Russian)
[a2] M. Spivak, "Calculus on manifolds" , Benjamin (1965)
[a3] C. deWitt-Morette, "Analysis, manifolds, physics" , North-Holland (1977) pp. 205 (Translated from French)
[a4] H. Triebel, "Analysis and mathematical physics" , Reidel (1986) pp. 375
How to Cite This Entry:
Stokes formula. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by L.D. Kudryavtsev (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article