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Many civil engineering problems in fluid mechanics are concerned with fluids in motion.

The distribution of potable water, the collection of domestic sewage and storm water, and the wave actions on offshore structures are common examples. The viscosity of water is small and therefore in most hydraulic problems associated with civil engineering it is reasonable to ignore the effect of shear forces. The most common methods to identify velocity of flow are pathlines, streaklines and streamlines. PATHLINE is the line traced by a given particle. This is generated by injecting a dye into the fluid and following its path by photography or other means. It also the trajectories that individual fluid particles follow. These can be thought of as a "recording" the path of a fluid element in the flow takes over a certain period. The direction the path takes will be determined by the streamlines of the fluid at each moment in time.

Defined by mathematical equation;

The suffix indicates that we are following the motion of a fluid particle. Note that at point the curve is parallel to the flow velocity vector , where the velocity vector is evaluated at the position of the particle at that time .


An important concept in the study of aerodynamics concerns the idea of streamlines. A streamline is a path traced out by a massless particle as it moves with the flow. It is easiest to visualize a streamline if we move along with the body (as opposed to moving with the flow). The figure above shows the computed streamlines around an airfoil and around a cylinder. In both cases, we move with the object and the flow proceeds from left to right. Since the streamline is traced out by a moving particle, at every point along the path the velocity is tangent to the path. Since there is no normal component of the velocity along the path, mass cannot cross a streamline. The mass contained between any two streamlines remains the same throughout the flowfield. We can use Bernoulli's equation to relate the pressure and velocity along the streamline. Since no mass passes through the surface of the airfoil (or cylinder), the surface of the object is a streamline. Bernoulli's equation is a direct result of the law of conservation of energy, only it is being applied to fluids. Bernoulli's equation is another equation dependent upon an ideal fluid, and states that: P + v + gy = P + v + gy Or can also be stated as: P + v + gy = constant

STREAMLINE FLOW OF FLUIDS When a fluid's particles all move along the same smooth path, the flow is said to be streamline, or laminar. In streamline flow, each path that the particles follow is called a streamline. No two streamlines can cross each other in standard flow. This effect can be seen in wind tunnels. Notice that in pictures (a) and (c), none of the streamlines cross one of the others. Another property of streamlines, is that the streamline will always be in the same direction as the velocity of the fluid. Laminar flow (or streamline flow) occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers. At low velocities the fluid tends to flow without lateral mixing, and adjacent layers slide past one another like playing cards. There are no cross currents perpendicular to the direction of flow, nor eddies or swirls of fluids. In laminar flow the motion of the particles of fluid is very orderly with all particles moving in straight lines parallel to the pipe walls. In fluid dynamics, laminar flow is a flow regime characterized by high momentum diffusion and low momentum convection.

As a fluid moves through a pipe that changes in size, there is a relationship between the crosssectional area (the area that the fluid moves through) and the velocity of the fluid. The relationship between area and velocity for a fluid. This relationship is described in the equation of continuity to be: Av = Av However, when we look at it as an ideal fluid, the densities cannot change, and must remain constant. That is to say, = . Therefore the new equation is: Av = Av From this equation, we can say that as the area of the pipe increases, the velocity of the fluid will decrease, and as the area decreases, velocity increases.

STREAMTUBE In fluid flow, an imaginary tube whose wall is generated by streamlines passing through a closed curve. Imagine a set of streamlines starting at points that form a closed loop (figure 18).

Figure 18. Streamlines forming a streamtube. These streamlines form a tube that is impermeable since the walls of the tube are made up of streamlines, and there can be no flow normal to a streamline (by definition). This tube is called a streamtube. From mass conservation, we see that for a steady, one-dimensional flow, the mass-flow rate is constant along a streamtube. In a constant density flow, therefore, the cross-sectional area of the streamtube gives information on the local velocity. As an example, consider steady, constant density flow over a cylinder, where the cylinder axis is normal to the direction of the incoming flow (figure 19).

Figure 19. Flow over a cylinder. Far upstream of the cylinder, the flow is uniform in all directions (we could call this a zerodimensional flow). The flow near the cylinder varies in the streamwise and normal directions but not in the spanwise direction. So the flow near the cylinder is two-dimensional. In this region the streamlines come closer together, and the area between them decreases. Since the density is constant, the velocity must increase according to the principle of mass conservation. For constant density flow, wherever the area between streamlines decreases, the velocity increases. This is exactly similar to what happens with constant-density flow through a duct or a pipe --- if the area decreases, the velocity increases so that the volume flow rate is maintained constant (volume flow rate out must equal volume flow rate in by continuity). At a reasonable speed for a reasonably sized cylinder (more precisely, at Reynolds numbers that are not too small), the maximum flow velocity in the region where the streamtubes take their minimum area is about 1.74 times the velocity in the far-field. As the flow passes over the shoulder of the cylinder, it separates (we saw a similar separation phenomenon in the diffuser flow shown in figure 10). Large eddying motions form in the wake of the cylinder, and the wake flow is unsteady and three-dimensional. Streamlines become very difficult to visualize and interpret in this region.