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Basic Concepts

Mechanics: the science which seeks an explanation for the motion of bodies based upon models grounded in well defined axioms. Static: the force analysis on a fixed body. Kinematics: a description of the motion of a body. Dynamics: the study of a bodys motion and its causing forces.

What is a Fluid?
A matter phase that cannot withstand any tendency for applied forces to deform it in such a way that volume is left unchanged. A substance that deforms continuously when subject to a shear stress of any magnitude.
Simply: Gases and liquids are fluids.

Fluid mechanics: the science that concern with the behavior of fluids (liquids or gases) at rest or in motion. Classification of fluid mechanics:
o Hydrodynamics: flow of liquids. o Gas dynamics: flow of gases. o Aerodynamics: flow of air.

The study of fluid mechanics goes back at least to the days of ancient Greece; Archimedes' Principle.


Any physical quantity can be characterized by dimensions. The magnitudes assigned to the dimensions are called units. SI system: A simple and logical system based on a decimal relationship between the various units. English system: It has no apparent systematic numerical base. Major confusion in this system is the Force; .

Dimensional homogeneity
All equations must be dimensionally homogeneous; each term in the equation must have the same dimension, e.g. V=Vo+at.


Some basic dimensions are selected as primary dimensions, such as: mass m, length L, time t, and temperature T. Others, expressed in terms of the primary dimensions and are called secondary dimensions, such as velocity V, force F, energy E, etc.

Scalar and Vector Quantities

Scalar quantity has only magnitude. Work = Force Displacement (e.g. mass, density, speed.) Vector quantity has both magnitude and direction. (e.g. weight, Force, velocity.) Force = Mass Acceleration

Fluid as a continuum
Matter is made up of atoms that are widely spaced in the gas phase. Yet it is very convenient to disregard the atomic nature of a substance and view it as a continuous, homogeneous matter with no holes, that is, a continuum. In this course we will limit our consideration to substances that can be modeled as a continuum.

Density: The mass per unit volume of a substance.

Specific volume: The volume per unit mass of a substance.

Specific weight: The weight of a unit volume of a substance.

Specific gravity: The ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard substance at a specified temperature. For liquids, water at 4oC r =1000kg/m3. For gases, air r =1.205kg/m3.

Temperature: A measure of the internal energy level of a fluid. Celsius scale: SI unit systems temperature scale. Kelvin scale: A temperature scale that is independent of the properties of any substance.

Fahrenheit scale: BG unit systems temperature scale.

The reference point in the Kelvin scale was changed from the ice point, 273.15 K, to a much more precisely reproducible point, the triple point, 273.16 K.

Pressure: A normal force exerted by a fluid per unit area; the compression stress at a point in a static fluid.

Atmospheric pressure: The weight of an air column on a unit area.

Absolute pressure: The actual pressure at a given position. Gage pressure: The difference between the absolute pressure and the local atmospheric pressure. Vacuum pressures: Pressures below atmospheric pressure.

State equation: : Any equation that relates the thermodynamic properties of a substance to each other. e.g. ideal gas law: , .

Specific heat: The energy required to raise a unit mass of a substance one degree. For gasses, it is cp if the process occur at constant pressure, or cv if the process occur at constant volume.


Compressibility: Fluids density changes caused by the flow. Compressibility coefficient:

. =

For gases, the relation between pressure and density is Bulk modulus of elasticity:

, when dealing with liquids.

As a consequence of compressibility, disturbances in the fluid propagate at a finite velocity. Speed of sound: The rate of propagation of a sound wave through a fluid; (i.e. acoustic velocity).

For ideal gases:


Viscosity: The property which determines the amount of its resistance to a shearing force due to the interaction between fluid molecules. It describes the fluidity of the fluid, i.e. how easily it flows.

For small time increment: tan

. .

, and


is the dynamic coefficient of viscosity.


No slip condition: The velocity of fluid is zero at the stationary boundary. The magnitude of depends on: The cohesive force between molecules (dominant for liquid). The momentum interchange between colliding molecules (dominant for gases).

As the temperature increase, the viscosity of a gas increases and viscosity of a liquid decreases. For liquids, Andrade Eq.:

. .

For gases: Sutherland Eq.:


Velocity Distribution: Since depends on the velocity distribution, is the key for fluid dynamics finding problems.


Newtonian vs. Non-Newtonian fluid Fluids are classified based on the relation between the applied shear stress and the deformation rate.

Vapor pressure ( Pv ) : The pressure at which a liquid boils and is in equilibrium with its own vapor. If P drops below Pv, liquid is locally vaporized, creating cavities of vapor and bubbles. Collapse of cavities is a violent process which can damage machinery, CAVITATION.

Surface Tension ( ): the magnitude of tension exerted by liquid surface on a unit area of the objects that are in contact with the surface. Liquid molecules near the surfaces have a greater attraction (stronger intermolecular forces) to each other. The balance between intermolecular cohesive forces and the fluid-solid adhesion forces. The curved free surface in the tube is call the meniscus. Water meniscus curves up ( 0 ); Mercury meniscus curves down up ( 130 ).

Capillary effect: the rise or fall of a liquid in a small-diameter tube.