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# Chapter 1:

## Fluids and their Properties

Fluid Mechanics
Fluid Mechanics
Fluid Mechanics
Fluid Mechanics
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INTRODUCTION

1. PRESSURE

2. VELOCITY

3. DEFINITION OF A FLUID

4. FLUID PROPERTIES
o Density
o Viscosity
o Surface Tension and Contact Angle
o Properties of Perfect Gases
o Properties of Perfect Liquids

Chapter 1:
Fluids and their Properties

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Having worked through this chapter the student will be able to:
- Understand the concepts of velocity and pressure
- Know what a fluid is
- Understand the relationship between the different phases of fluid
- Know what the more commonly used fluid properties are
- Know the difference between the different types of fluid, Newtonian and non-Newtonian
Chapter 1:
Fluids and their Properties

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INTRODUCTION
Fluid Mechanics is of major importance to engineering. It involves applying the basic concepts of
mass, momentum and energy to fluids. The study of fluids in motion, known as Fluid Dynamics,
and of fluids at rest, known as Fluid Statics, have applications in many industries from aviation to
gas and oil production and processing. Applying the scientific principles requires a working
knowledge of what a fluid is, how it behaves in certain circumstances and what fluid properties
are required. Scientific principles are applied to determine the flow field quantities, usually
pressure and velocity. The approach is to treat the fluid as a continuum. This involves
considering a small volume of fluid to be a point in the flow field. The volume must be negligibly
small in comparison with the flow field and it must contain sufficient molecules for a single
pressure, temperature and velocity to be applicable to that volume. If the volume required to
achieve a representative number of molecules is too large the approach is not valid.

1. PRESSURE
All fluids consist of molecules of matter that travel with finite quantities of momentum. When
the direction of these molecules is altered by, for instance, a collision with a solid surface, these
molecules must exert a force on that surface. The force per unit area exerted on the surface by
these molecules is known as the pressure of the fluid. The pressure therefore must act normal
to the surface. This course uses the SI system of units in which force is measured in Newtons, N,
and area is measured in square meters, m
2
. Pressure is therefore measured in Newtons per
square meter, N/m
2
, which is frequently referred to as the Pascal, Pa.

Figure 1: Pressure Explained

Atmospheric pressure is the pressure of the air surrounding us. It fluctuates with weather
conditions but is normally taken as 101.3 kN/m
2
. Pressure is sometimes expressed relative to the
atmospheric value as indicated in Figure 1. This arises because interest is usually in quantities
arising from the fluid flow and not that produced by the atmosphere. The actual pressure is
referred to as the absolute pressure whereas the relative pressure is referred to as the gauge
pressure. These two quantities are related thus:

atmosphere gauge absolute
p p p + =

Gauge pressure gets its name from measurement techniques that measure pressure changes
relative to the atmosphere, e.g. the Bourdon gauge. These gauges will display the first quantity
on the right hand side of the above equation. As a general rule, gauge pressure is the quantity
Chapter 1:
Fluids and their Properties

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that is used in fluid mechanic analyses. The main exception occurs when gases are flowing at
high speed. In these circumstances the fluid density is calculated from a gas law that requires
the absolute pressure to be used.

2. VELOCITY
The velocity of a fluid is a vector and represents the rate of change of displacement with time. It
is usually represented by its three component parts u, v and w in the x, y and z directions
respectively.

3. DEFINITION OF A FLUID
A fluid can be defined in several ways. Two useful definitions are:

(a) Fluid is matter that distorts to occupy the shape of the volume that encloses it
(b) Fluid is matter that cannot sustain a shear stress while remaining at rest

Definition (a) generates a good image of what a fluid is, but can obviously be applied to two
types, or states, of matter, liquids and gases. A liquid will only occupy the enclosing container to
the extent of its own volume whereas a gas will expand to occupy the total enclosure volume.
This is because liquids are fluids with an approximately constant density, i.e. constant mass of
substance per unit volume occupied, while gases are fluids with a density that can vary
significantly.

Definition (b) is a more technical definition. It generates the idea that a fluid is something that
you cannot drag your finger along without causing it to flow. You could, however, push on a
closed piston-cylinder assembly containing a fluid (normal stress) without producing any fluid
flow.

Liquids can be converted to gases by the process of evaporation. Conversely, gases can be
converted to liquids by the process of condensation. The movement between these states is
said to occur in the fluids wet field. The process can be envisaged for a pure substance, like
water, by constructing a temperature specific volume chart. The construction assumes that
the fluid remains in thermodynamic equilibrium throughout.

Figure 2: Piston Cylinder

Chapter 1:
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A fluid state is fully specified when two quantities are known. However, during phase change,
the temperature does not change. Thus, a temperature specific volume chart can only be
constructed if another variable, in this case pressure, is kept constant. The experiment being
envisaged to construct the chart involves putting liquid in a cylinder pressurised by a fixed load
and adding heat to it, as shown in Figure 2. The fixed load ensures that the fluid pressure
remains constant. The specific volume is the volume enclosed by the piston and cylinder divided
by the constant mass of fluid in it. Initially at temperature T
1
on Figure 3, the water is subcooled,
i.e. it has the capacity to receive some heat without evaporating. As heat is added, the liquid
temperature rises to T
2
, where any further addition of heat will produce vapour. This
temperature is known as the saturation temperature. During this stage of the process the
cylinder expands slightly, caused by a small increase in the fluids specific volume. The addition
of more heat results in the production of vapour, a process that continues at constant
temperature, or isothermally, until all of the liquid has been converted to vapour. This stage of
the process occurs in the wet field and produces a large change to the fluids specific volume.
Finally, as more heat is added, the temperature rises to temperature T
3
, where it becomes a
superheated vapour, i.e. it has the capacity to be cooled to some extent without condensing.
The specific volume increases further during this stage of the process. Note that cooling the
cylinder will reverse the process. Repeating the heating process with a larger load on the piston
produces process path T
1
1
T
3
1

Figure 3: T-v diagram of a pure substance

Notice that the saturation temperature increases and the phase-change, specific-volume
increase reduces. Further increases in load produces further increases in saturation temperature
and further reductions in the phase-change, specific-volume increase, until the critical
temperature, T
c
, is reached. This is the critical point. The line formed by joining points T
2
, T
2
1
up
to T
c
and separating the wet field from the subcooled liquid is called the saturated liquid line.
The corresponding line separating the wet field from the superheated vapour is called the
saturated vapour line. The critical pressure, temperature and specific volume are fixed for a
given fluid. The liquid and vapour phases have the same properties at this point. Above the
critical point the fluid is said to be supercritical with phase change occurring without passage
through a wet field.
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A point, known as the triple point, exists where solid liquid and vapour co-exist in
thermodynamic equilibrium. The triple point of a substance occurs at a specific temperature and
pressure. If the pressure is below the triple point value, heating a solid will produce vapour
without any liquid being generated. Cooling a vapour at these pressures will produce solid.

4. FLUID PROPERTIES
There are several fluid properties that need to be known before the basic science can be applied
to a particular situation. The properties required depend on the application. For example, a
simple pipe flow calculation involving a liquid will require the density and the viscosity to be
known, whereas a perfect gas requires the density, viscosity and isentropic index to be known.

4.1 Density
The density, , of a fluid is the mass of fluid that occupies a unit of volume. This means that the
magnitude of a fluids density depends on the unit system used. Mass is measured in kilograms,
kg, and volume is measured in cubic meters, m
3
. Density is therefore measured in kilograms per
cubic meter, kg/m
3
. The density of a fluid is not constant. For liquids the density variation is
small, with temperature having a greater effect than pressure. Water, a liquid, has a density of
3
at room temperature and pressure. This falls to 958 kg/m
3
at 100C.

For gases density variations are large, except when pressure changes are small. Air, for example,
has a density given by the perfect gas law

mRT pV =
RT
p
V
m
= =

where p is the absolute pressure in Pascals, Pa (N/m
2
), R is the gas constant in J/kgK and T is the
absolute temperature in Kelvin, K. The Joule, J, is the unit of energy. The gas constant depends
on the gas used, however, a universal constant, R
o
, exists and has the value 8.314 kJ/kmolK. Gas
constants are linked to the universal gas constant through

wt
M
R
R
0
=

where M
wt
is the molecular weight of the gas. The gas constant for air is 287 J/kgK. At ambient
conditions the density of air is 1.205 kg/m
3
. Some densities are expressed relative to the density
of water at 20C, i.e. 1000 kg/m
3
. Such relative densities are known as specific gravities and are
dimensionless, e.g. the specific gravity of mercury is 13.6, i.e. its density is 13,600 kg/m
3
. Some
fluids texts refer to the specific volume, , of a fluid. This is the volume occupied by a unit mass
of fluid and is therefore the reciprocal of the fluid density, i.e.

1
= v
and has units of m3/kg.
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4.2 Viscosity
The viscosity of a fluid is similar in concept to the modulus of rigidity of a solid, in that it links the
deformation of a right angle in a fluid to the shear stress applied to it. The major difference
between them is that a solid deforms by a fixed amount set by the shear stress applied, whereas
a fluid continually deforms. Thus, in a fluid, the shear stress is proportional to the strain rate, not
the strain. The constant of proportionality is the dynamic viscosity, usually abbreviated to the
viscosity.

Figure 4: Fluid Element

The rectangle shown in Figure 4 is a two-dimensional element of fluid moving parallel to the x-
axis. The velocity at y is u and at y + y is u + u. The rectangle deforms to the shape shown in
time t.

The shear strain, the deformation to the right angle, , can be determined from

( ) ( ) ( )
y
t u x t u u x
A
A + A A + +
= A tan

If the angle of deformation is small, and the limit is taken as y and t tend to zero, the strain
rate is given by
dy
du
dt
d
= =

Thus the shear stress, , is given by

dy
du
t =

where is the viscosity. Shear stress is a force per unit area and has units of N/m
2
. The SI unit of
viscosity is Ns/m
2
or Pas. This is Newtons law of viscosity. If the viscosity is independent of
Chapter 1:
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velocity gradient the fluid is Newtonian, otherwise it is non-Newtonian. Water, oil and air are
Newtonian. The viscosity of a Newtonian fluid can vary with temperature and to a lesser extent
pressure. These variations can be accounted for by using interpolating equations. Liquids and
gases behave differently.

In general, liquid viscosity decreases with increasing temperature while gas viscosities increase
with increasing temperature. In many fluid mechanic applications, the ratio of the dynamic
viscosity to the density is required. This ratio is referred to as the kinematic viscosity and has
units of m
2
/s. Many non-Newtonian fluids can be characterised by an equation of the form

n
dy
du
B A
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ = t

where A, B and n are constants. Fluids described in this way have an apparent viscosity given by

1
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
n
dy
du
B

There are several subsets to these fluids (Figure 5), the most commonly occurring ones being
the power law fluids where A is zero, B is the consistency index and n is the flow behavioural
index. Power law fluids with a flow behavioural index less than one are call shear thinning, or
pseudo-plastic, fluids because the apparent viscosity decreases with increasing strain rate. Fluids
with the index greater than one are shear thickening, or dilatant, fluids because the apparent
viscosity increases with increasing strain rate. A polymer solution is a typical shear thinning fluid
and quicksand is an example of shear thickening fluid. The constant A is a threshold shear stress,
below which, the fluid acts as a solid. Strictly speaking this doesnt meet the definition of a fluid,
see section 3 (b). When A is not zero and n is one, the fluid is known as a Bingham plastic fluid,
of which sewage sludge is a common example. Finally, it is worth noting that some non-
Newtonian fluids have an apparent viscosity that varies with time. If the apparent viscosity
increases with time, the fluid is rheopectic. If it decreases with time it is thixotropic.

Figure 5: Newtonian and Non-Newtonian Fluids

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4.3 Surface Tension and Contact Angle
In the bulk of a liquid, a molecule is, on average, held in equilibrium by the other molecules
surrounding it. As you near a free surface there are insufficient molecules to achieve this. This
causes a line tension at the surface. This line tension is known as the surface tension, . Surface
tension varies with temperature. Surface tension forces can only be significant when a free
surface is present, such as in a two-phase flow.

Figure 6: Contact Angle
N E
A similar phenomenon occurs when a liquid, solid and gas come together simultaneously. The
interactions between the liquid and solid molecules give rise to a contact angle as shown in
Figure 6. The contact angle is a property of the fluid relative to that solid material.

4.4 Properties of Perfect Gases
For any gas, the thermodynamic state is fully specified if any two properties are known. Typical
properties are pressure, temperature, specific volume, entropy and enthalpy. Gas equations of
state relate any property to up to any other two. A simple model of a gas, derived from the
kinetic theory of gases, is the perfect gas law, section 4.1. A perfect gas is one where:

(a) The volume occupied by the gas molecules is negligible in comparison to the volume
occupied by the gas.
(b) The forces of attraction between the gas molecules are negligible.
(c) Molecular collisions are perfectly elastic.
(d) The average kinetic energy of the molecules is proportional to the absolute temperature
of the gas.

Real gases approximate to ideal gases reasonably well when they are removed from their wet
fields. Gases like air can normally be treated as perfect. A gas will have energy by virtue of its
temperature. For a perfect gas the internal energy, i, is proportional to its absolute temperature,
thus

T C i
V
=

where C
v
is the specific heat at constant volume. For air the specific heat at constant volume is
718 J/kgK.
Chapter 1:
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There are two types of fluid systems, open systems and closed systems. An example of a closed
system is a piston cylinder arrangement, where a gas is trapped between the piston and the
cylinder. An example of an open system is a pipe flow, where fluid enters the system and
subsequently departs from it. When a fluid has to cross a boundary, work has to be done to get
it to cross it. This work, or flow energy, frequently appears in fluid mechanic calculations as an

The sum of these is referred to as the enthalpy, h. For a perfect gas the enthalpy is proportional
to the absolute temperature, thus

T C h
P
=

where C
p
is the specific heat at constant pressure. For air the specific heat at constant pressure is
1005 J/kgK. The relationships for internal energy and enthalpy and the perfect gas law implicitly
relate specific heats to the gas constant thus

R C C
V P
=

In gas dynamic calculations, the ratio of these specific heats frequently occurs. For a perfect gas
this ratio is known as the isentropic index, , i.e.

=
V
P
C
C

For air the isentropic index is 1.4 and is dimensionless.

4.5 Properties of Perfect Liquids
A perfect liquid is one that is incompressible. For a perfect liquid there is no difference between
the specific heat at constant pressure and the specific heat at constant volume and is simply
referred to as the specific heat capacity, C
l
. Real liquid are, to some extent compressible,
although the effect is usually negligible. For calculation purposes the specific heat at constant
pressure is used. This varies slightly with temperature and can be found from an interpolating
equation of the form

bT a C
P
+ =

Liquid properties do not vary much with pressure. The saturated liquid line values can therefore
normally be used, i.e. if the liquid is at T
2
, Figure 3, the saturated liquid properties can be used
whether it is saturated or subcooled.