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We consider the Navier–Stokes equations with Navier's slip boundary conditions in a three-dimensional curved thin domain around a given closed surface. Under suitable assumptions, we show that the average in the thin direction of a strong solution to the bulk Navier–Stokes equations converges weakly in appropriate function spaces on the limit surface as the thickness of the thin domain tends to zero. Moreover, we characterize the limit as a weak solution to limit equations, which are the damped and weighted Navier–Stokes equations on the limit surface. We also prove the strong convergence of the average of a strong solution to the bulk equations towards a weak solution to the limit equations by showing estimates for the difference between them. In some special case, our limit equations agree with the Navier–Stokes equations on a Riemannian manifold in which the viscous term contains the Ricci curvature. This is the first result on a rigorous derivation of the surface Navier–Stokes equations on a general closed surface by the thin-film limit.
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