In physics and fluid mechanics, a boundary layer is that layer of fluid in the immediate vicinity of a bounding surface. In the Earth's atmosphere, the planetary boundary layer is the air layer near the ground affected by diurnal heat, moisture or momentum transfer to or from the surface. On an aircraft wing the boundary layer is the part of the flow close to the wing. The boundary layer effect occurs at the field region in which all changes occur in the flow pattern. The boundary layer distorts surrounding nonviscous flow. It is a phenomenon of viscous forces. This effect is related to the Reynolds number.
Laminar boundary layers come in various forms and can be loosely classified according to their structure and the circumstances under which they are created. The thin shear layer which develops on an oscillating body is an example of a Stokes boundary layer, whilst the Blasius boundary layer refers to the well-known similarity solution for the steady boundary layer attached to a flat plate held in an oncoming unidirectional flow. When a fluid rotates, viscous forces may be balanced by the Coriolis effect, rather than convective inertia, leading to the formation of an Ekman layer. Thermal boundary layers also exist in heat transfer. Multiple types of boundary layers can coexist near a surface simultaneously.