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The Physics of Fluids

• Physical Properties of a Fluid: macroscopic properties of a fluid reflect its
underlying molecular structure.
-properties that are most closely coupled to the motion of a fluid
o Density: density of a fluid affects the flow in two ways
 It determines the inertia of a unit volume fluid and hence its
acceleration when subject to a given force.
• Low density fluids accelerate more readily than high
density fluids, when subject to the same force per unit
• Low density fluid requires less force per unit volume to
 Gravity force per unit volume is determined by the fluid density
• It requires more work to lift a given volume of water than
equal volume of gas
 ρ ( p, T )
 ∂ρ   ∂ρ 
δρ =   δp +   δT
 ∂p  T  ∂T  p
δρ  ∂ ln ρ   ∂ ln ρ 
=   δp +   δT
ρ  ∂p  T  ∂T  p
 ∂p  bulk modulus (reciprocal of the
E ≡   coefficient of the first term)
 ∂ ln ρ  T
 ∂ ln ρ  Negative of the second term is
β = −  called coefficient of thermal
 ∂T  p

 Specific Weight
γ = ρg [N / m3 ]
• Weight per unit volume (e.g., @ 20 oC, 1 atm)
• γwater = (998 kg/m3)(9.807 m2/s) = 9790 N/m3
• γair = (1.205 kg/m3)(9.807 m2/s) = 11.8 N/m3
 Specific Gravity: hydrometer
• Ratio of fluid density to density at STP (e.g., @ 20 oC, 1 atm)
ρ liq
• SGliq =
ρ wat
ρ gas
• SG gas =
ρ air
• Water SGwater = 1
• Mercury SGHg = 13.6
• Air SGair = 1

 Anomalous expansion of water

o Viscosity
 Most Important parameter
 Viscosity is that property of a fluid by virtue of which it offers
resistance to shear.
 e.g.: honey and water
 Liquid: Temperature(+) → Viscosity(-)
 Gasses: Temperature(+) → Viscosity(+)
 Viscosity varies little with pressure.
 Quantitative method:

1 V
τ ∝V , τ ∝ => τ ∝
h h
V 
τ =µ 
µ→ absolute viscosity coefficient or viscosity
δV ∂V
infinitesimally thin layers ≈
δy ∂y
 ∂V 
τ = µ  
 ∂y 
 This relationship is called Newtonian fluids → linear relationship
between shear stress and velocity derivative
 Also have non-Newtonian fluids→ fluid molecules are very large
(e.g. blood flow) → difficult to describe the shear stress in such

 Viscous stress in a fluid undergoing shear flow is a consequence of

the average relative motion of fluid molecules.
 In a stationary fluid, individual molecules constantly exchange
energy with neighboring molecules, some times gaining and other
times losing energy, but over a period of time averaging out to no
gain or loss.

 In shear flow, molecules tend to gain energy by colliding with
other molecules that are, on average, moving towards them with an
average speed proportional to the fluid strain rate ∂V ∂y . This
energy must be supplied by a force, the shear stress τ, acting on a
deforming fluid element, doing work at the rate
 ∂V   ∂V 
τ   = µ   per unit volume. As the energy of the fluid
 ∂y   ∂y 
molecules is increased by the work of viscous deformation, the
temperature of the fluid will rise because the increased molecular
energy is randomly distributed among the molecules, as it is when
the fluid is heated. This process is called viscous dissipation.
 Kinematic viscosity (or viscous diffusivity): affects how quickly a
shear force exerted on the surface of fluid penetrates into the
 Solid-fluid interface→ when a fluid moves along a solid surface,
the fluid molecules at the solid surface do not move with the fluid.
We assume that a fluid sticks to the surface and that the speed of
the fluid at the interface is same as the solid.

Ideal fluid → µ=0 (ideal or inviscid flow)

Real fluid → µ > 0 (viscous flow)

Newtonian vs non-Newtonian flow:

n −1
∂V  ∂V 
τ =m  
∂y  ∂y 
n=1: Newtonian fluid
n<1: pseudoplastic
n>1: dilatant

o Surface Tension
 Below surface, forces act equally in all directions
 At surface, some forces are missing, pulls molecules down and
together, like membrane exerting tension on the surface
 If interface is curved, higher pressure will exist on concave side
 Pressure increase is balanced by surface tension, s
 s = 0.073 N/m (@ 20oC)

o Cavitation and Boiling
• Thermodynamic Properties
o Heat Transfer
o Compressible Flow
o Incompressible Flow
• Chemical Properties

of bug leg

F F=surface
tension on
1 side of leg