The quantitative study of how fluids (gases and liquids) move.

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Do gases have phonons?

A phonon is a quantized unit of sound; they are encountered when quantizing lattice vibrations in solids. Now, even an ideal gas supports sound waves, but in such a case, interactions between atoms ...
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Stripeless cleaning of windows

Cross post: http://chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/4377/22 Last week I was discussing with a friend how we thought the stripeless cleaning of windows is achieved when using a cleaner like Windex Glass ...
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Branching lemon drop “smoke rings”

This might be hard to ask, but here goes nothing. I recently poured a cup of water into a black coffee cup. There was a light source--not very bright--above the cup. Anyways, I was squeezing a ...
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Swimming in a ball of water in space

What would I feel if I went swimming in a ball of water in space? Would I feel greater pressure as I went deeper into the sphere? What would it be like to swim in something like that? Also, let's say ...
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Why and how is sound produced when two objects hit each other?

When two objects collide and undergo a partially inelastic collision (so every one we experience in every-day life), they rebound to a certain degree, but kinetic energy is not conserved. Thus, the ...
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About turbulence modeling

I have some questions about this paper: Lagrangian/Hamiltonian formalism for description of Navier-Stokes fluids. R. J. Becker. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58 no. 14 (1987), pp. 1419-1422. After reading ...
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Why planes have propellers in front but watercraft have them behind?

Why do propeller airplanes mostly have their propellers in front (of the fuselage or wings) while ships and boats mostly have them at the back? I realize that there are aircraft with pusher ...
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Can a droplet of water bounce back when it hits a water surface?

Is it possible that a droplet of water can bounce from the surface of a volume of water?
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Why is exhaling more forceful than inhaling?

By blowing at pencil, a piece of paper, or another object up to fifty centimeters away, I can cause it to move away from me significantly. But I can't move an object toward myself by inhaling sharply ...
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Can I move an oil tanker?

Let's say that I'm standing at the edge of a basin made of concrete. This basin is filled with salt water and a ship floats on the water close to the edge of the basin. The ship is neither anchored ...
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Did Felix Baumgartner produce a sonic boom during his jump?

I really got to thinking about this. The speed of sound is measured at 761.2 MPH at sea level. But how does this number change as air density decreases? The lack of air density is what allowed his ...
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Why does string not wick down?

I regularly drink tea at work and I often reuse the tea bags (yes I know I'm a cheapskate). Yesterday afternoon I used a tea bag once and kept it in the cup in case I wanted another cup before I left....
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How fast would a truck have to go to pull a pedestrian onto the road? [closed]

Let's suppose a pedestrian P is walking or standing next to a highway. Suppose a truck T will drive by the said pedestrian at speed V leaving distance L between the two. Assuming L is a reasonably ...
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Deriving equation for skipping stones over water

Why can rocks skip over water (stone skipping)? For instance, if you conduct an experiment where you drop both rocks from the same height, but give one considerable acceleration in the $x$-direction, ...
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Is it possible to travel at precisely the speed of sound?

I've been talking to a friend, and he said that it's impossible to travel at exactly the same speed as the speed of sound is. He argued that it's only possible to break through the sound barrier using ...
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Why there's a whirl when you drain the bathtub?

At first I thought it's because of Coriolis, but then someone told me that at the bathtub scale that's not the predominant force in this phenomenon.
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Is the meander ratio of a river $= \pi$?

To get from point $A$ to $B$, a river will take a path that is $\pi$ times longer than as the crow flies (I think this result is from Einstein). What is the proof of this, and how well does it hold ...
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Why doesn't water come out of tap/faucet at high pressure when I turn it on?

(tap=faucet) When I turn a tap on full and then put my thumb over the spout covering, say, 90% of it, then the water spurts out. If I turn it on to, say 10%, then the water dribbles out. What's the ...
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Does anyone know the mechanism behind this double helix cloud formation?

This looks like m=2 swirling instability mode of the axisymmetric jet, but how could an axisymmetric jet form up in the sky like that?
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Does it take significantly more fuel to fly a heavier airplane?

I was reading in the papers how some-airline-or-the-other increased their prices for extra luggage, citing increased fuel costs. Now I'm a bit skeptical. Using the (wrong) Bernoulli-effect ...
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Is flying really easier on smaller scales?

In the book Playing with Planets, the author makes the following argument, pertinent to flying robots of the future: As it is, an important law of physics says that smaller organisms fly much more ...
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Are there any liquids with zero surface tension?

Having read the Wikipedia page on superfluids I'm still not sure if stuff like liquid helium at the lambda point actually have surface tension or not. Is superfluidity the same thing? And are there ...
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What does it mean for a physical quantity if its mixed second partial derivatives are not equal?

This goes for every problem (either in electromagnetism or fluid dynamics) that has to do with vector fields. Say we have a fluid flowing in a closed circular pipe (or an electromagnetic field, the ...
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Whistle Physics

I'm looking for a simple explanation of how a whistle operates. I know that forcing air over a sharp lip can set up a wave in a resonating cavity, but how? "Most whistles operate due to a feedback ...
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How to freeze the Niagara waterfalls?

Here is a picture of the usual vigorous Niagara Falls (in the winter). Here is the picture of Niagara Falls frozen in 1933 (in the very cold winter). Here is the picture of Niagara Falls frozen in ...
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How to estimate the Kolmogorov length scale

My understanding of Kolmogorov scales doesn't really go beyond this poem: Big whirls have little whirls that feed on their velocity, and little whirls have lesser whirls and so on to viscosity. -...
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Could Navier-Stokes equation be derived directly from Boltzmann equation?

I know how to derive Navier-Stokes equations from Boltzmann equation in case where bulk and viscosity coefficients are set to zero. I need only multiply it on momentum and to integrate it over ...
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How does liquid in a ball affect its rotational acceleration down a ramp?

Suppose we have a shell with mass $M$ and radius $R$. If we let that roll without slipping down a ramp of angle theta to the horizontal, we can easily find the acceleration of the shell the instant ...
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Ball jumping from water

Few days ago I played with ball(filled with air) in swimming pool. I observed interesting phenomenon. When I released a ball from 3 meters depth the ball barely jumped above the water surface but ...
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Why pouring milk from a height makes a chain shape? [duplicate]

I have noticed a chain-like shape when milk is poured from a height into a cup. Actually the chain pattern repeats itself after some distance and again till it reaches the milk in the cup. Any ...
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Vortex in liquid collects particles in center

At xmas, I had a cup of tea with some debris at the bottom from the leaves. With less than an inch of tea left, I'd shake the cup to get a little vortex going, then stop shaking and watch it spin. ...
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Why can't one see tidal effects in a glass of water?

Why can't one see the tidal effect in a glass of water like in an ocean?
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Does a wing in a potential flow have lift?

I have a hard time understanding whether or not a wing placed in a potential flow, assuming there is no viscosity and no friction with the wing, will produce a lift. I've seen several contradictory (...
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How to prevent water droplets becoming larger on the tip of a nozzle?

I use an ordinary syringe to generate a single water droplet. However, it is not usually able to make a droplet smaller than 1 mm (because of surface tension forces, inner diameter of needle, etc.) ...
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Why $\log \rho$ in the continuity equation?

I just saw the continuity equation, in a manuscript, written as $$\frac{\partial \log \rho }{\partial t} + \vec v \cdot \nabla \log \rho= - \nabla \cdot \vec v.$$ Now, just calculating the derivatives ...
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Is the velocity with which molecules of the medium oscillate same as velocity of the sound in that medium?

I wanted to know that under sound field applied molecules of the medium oscillate with some velocity in the direction of sound propagation. Is this velocity same as velocity of the sound in that ...
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Occurrence of turbulence in fluid dynamics from the equations of motion?

How can it be shown that turbulence occurs in fluid dynamics? I think people imply that it develops because of the $\text{rot}$ terms in the equations of motion, i.e. the Navier-Stokes equations, ...
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Compressibility and the form of Newton's second law in fluid mechanics

In deriving Euler's equations for fluid mechanics, in particular $$f=\rho \partial_t v +\rho v\cdot \nabla v$$ for some body force $f$ (e.g Landau & Lifschitz 2.3) one assumes the continuity ...
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Why is there a breakdown in Kolmogorov scaling in turbulence?

Why is there a breakdown of Kolmogorov scaling in turbulence? What causes intermittency?
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Crown shape in water waves?

Watching this slow motion video of waves caused by a droplet falling on water, I am puzzled by the first wave shape. The first wave rises with circular symmetry as I expected, but is not even in ...
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How do I enforce the no-slip boundary condition in time dependent incompressible pipe flow?

This is a technical problem which must have been solved already. It won't be in beginners textbooks but there should be a solution somewhere. I welcome reading suggestions. Maybe someone with ...
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Self Stirring Boiling Liquid

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were brewing a new batch of beer. We boil our wort in a turkey fryer. Pretty standard setup for beginners. Anyway, our wort was getting pretty close to boiling ...
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Cascade in relativistic turbulence

The Kolmogorov theory of turbulence indicates an energy cascade in turbulence. Is there a corresponding version of relativistic fluid?
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Calculating Reynolds number for a viscous droplet

I'm trying to develop a very basic scaling law/unit analysis for viscous droplet formation, and I'd like to get some rough numerical values of the Reynolds number to play with. To be specific, I'm ...
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Which direction will Coriolis forces deflect a bubble?

If I throw a ball straight up, it deflects slightly to the west due to Coriolis forces. If instead I watch a bubble float up in water, is the bubble deflected west, east, or neither? I think the ...
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How can rising bubbles shrink and disappear?

I was recently looking at a Wurlitzer juke box, and noticed something strange. It's decorated with liquid-filled tubes. Gas bubbles are injected at the bottoms of the tubes, and the bubbles naturally ...
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Why exactly does a boomerang return back to the thrower?

I was always intrigued by the phenomena that govern the returning back of a boomerang to the thrower. Even if it is dependent on various factors such as velocity, aerodynamics, wind resistance and ...
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Why do rain waves form and what is their connection to the texture of the surface they're on?

When it rains and water flows down an inclined street, ripples may form that are carried along with the current. Here's a picture with an example of what I'm talking about I'd like to know what the ...
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Which travels further, a football or a soccer ball, when thrown?

I recently answered this question: Laminar Versus Turbulent Flow and it caused me to think of the following situation. Given that an (American) football weighs between Football 400 to 430 grams, and ...
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How does a steady wind flow generate sound?

When a wind blow through sharp edge, say, edge of a paper, you can see the vibration of the paper and hear the sound. For this type of oscillation, it should be a damped oscillation with external ...