The Divergence Theorem

The Physical Meaning of Divergence

Consider water in a shallow pool. In the pool are some sources of water, some "sinks" of water (e.g. drains) and some barriers to water movement. The resulting motion of water is a vector field: at each point in the pool, the water has a certain velocity vector.

The physical meaning of divergence is the "outflow per unit area" so we expect the divergence to be negative at a sink and positive at a source.

You will need to invoke Maple for this lab.


Next: Divergence at a Point

Frederick J. Wicklin <>
Brian Burt<>
Document Created: Wed Jan 25 CST
Last modified: Tue Sep 26 13:31:33 1995