Causality and existence of solutions of relativistic viscous fluid dynamics with gravity

Fábio S. Bemfica, Marcelo M. Disconzi, Jorge Noronha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach is described to help improve the foundations of relativistic viscous fluid dynamics and its coupling to general relativity. Focusing on neutral conformal fluids constructed solely in terms of hydrodynamic variables, we derive the most general viscous energy-momentum tensor yielding equations of motion of second order in the derivatives, which is shown to provide a novel type of generalization of the relativistic Navier-Stokes equations for which causality holds. We show how this energy-momentum tensor may be derived from conformal kinetic theory. We rigorously prove local existence, uniqueness, and causality of solutions of this theory (in the full nonlinear regime) both in a Minkowski background and also when the fluid is dynamically coupled to Einstein's equations. Linearized disturbances around equilibrium in Minkowski spacetime are stable in this causal theory. A numerical study reveals the presence of an out-of-equilibrium hydrodynamic attractor for a rapidly expanding fluid. Further properties are also studied, and a brief discussion of how this approach can be generalized to nonconformal fluids is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104064
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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