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Introduction to Fluid Mechanics

Chapter 1


Main Topics
Definition of Fluid Mechanics
Definition of a Fluid
Basic Equations
Methods of Analysis
Dimensions and Units


Fluid Mechanics
What is Fluid Mechanics?
It is the study of fluids in motion or at rest
under the action of applied forces
Fluid Mechanics
is divided into three areas:

Fluid statics:
Study of fluids
at rest

Fluid kinematics:
Study of fluids
in motion

Fluid dynamics:
Study of effect of
forces on fluid motion

Fluid Mechanics
What are the approaches for solving fluid mechanics problems?
There are three approaches:
Experimental and
Based on these, fluid mechanics is sometimes classified into:
Analytical Fluid Dynamics
Experimental Fluid Dynamics and
Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD


Definition of a Fluid
When a shear stress is applied:
Fluids continuously deform
Solids deform or bend up to the elastic limit


Definition of a Fluid
Fluid is a substance that deforms continuously under the
application of a shear stress

Fluids comprise liquids (e.g. water, alcohol, oil, mercury)

and gases (air, oxygen, helium)

From fluid mechanics point of view, all matter consists

of only two states. What are they?
Note that a solid also deforms when a shear stress is applied,
but its deformation is not continuous


Basic Equations
Conservation of mass
The mass of a system is constant

Newtons second law of motion

Net force F ma

The principle of angular momentum

The net torque equals the rate of change of angular momentum of the

The first law of thermodynamics

The change in stored energy of a system equals the net energy added to
the system as heat and work

The second law of thermodynamics

The entropy of any isolated system cannot decrease during any

process between equilibrium states


Basic Equations
Not all the basic laws are always required to solve any one problem
In some problems, it is necessary to employ additional relations in
the form of equations of state or constitutive equations

E.g., p = RT (ideal gas equation)

Appropriate boundary and initial conditions (e.g. no-slip) must also be



Methods of Analysis
System and Control Volume

System: A fixed, identifiable mass of fluid

The system is separated from its surrounding by its boundaries

Mass cannot pass through a system boundary
Everything external to this system is termed: surroundings
System boundaries can move and the shape of the boundary can deform


Methods of Analysis
System and Control Volume
Control Volume (CV):
An arbitrary volume in space
with a boundary
A boundary is called a control surface (CS)
CV and CS can move and deform
Mass can pass through a CV


Methods of Analysis
Differential or Integral Approach
Differential Approach
Considers infinitesimal elements of a system or a control volume
Provides differential equations defining the flow
Solutions provide detailed picture of the flow

Differential approach is discussed in Chapter 5

Integral Approach
Applies basic laws to a finite system or control volume
Provides information on gross behavior of a fluid flow
o E.g., overall lift of a airplane wing
Integral approach is treated in Chapter 4


Methods of Analysis
Lagrangian or Eulerian System
Lagrangian System (after J. L. Lagrange)
Individual fluid particle is tracked as it moves through the flow
Tracking is based on particles position and time
It is not widely used in fluid mechanics. Why?
Because it is very difficult to track individual particles since fluids consist of
so many particles

Eulerian System (after L. Euler)

Gives the details of the entire flow field at a given position as a function of time
At a given point in the flow, new particles are arriving all the time
Difficult to apply Newtons second law. Why?
Because his 2nd law applies only to particles of fixed mass but in this
case the mass may vary: F = ma