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

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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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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 do nuclear bombs make a mushroom?

Atomic bombs make mushroom. It's well-known and we've seen many images of atomic experiments around the world. My question is, what causes the mushroom shape? Do conventional explosives like TNT and ...
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What is the mystery of turbulence?

One of the great unsolved problems in physics is turbulence but I'm not too clear what the mystery is. Does it mean that the Navier-Stokes equations don't have any turbulent phenomena even if we solve ...
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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 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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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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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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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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Occurrence of turbulences in Fluid Dynamics from the equations of motion?

How can it be shown that turbulences occur in Fluid Dynamics? I think poeple imply that they develope because of the $\text{rot}$ terms in the equations of motion, i.e. the Navier-Stokes equations, ...
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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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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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Why does water pouring from a glass sometimes travel down the side of the glass?

If you have a glass of water, say, three quarters full and you pour it at an angle of say, $45^{\circ}$ with respect to the the table, the water comes out of the glass and goes directly down towards ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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How do I calculate the distance a ship will take to stop?

I am a River Pilot and drive ships for a living. These ships are very large and range up to 160,000 Metric Tons. I am trying to figure out how to calculate the distance to stopping. I have a basic ...
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Why does my natural whistle have a maximum volume

When I whistle, I find that I can vary the volume by pushing more or less air through my mouth at once. However, when I increase volume past a point, I start to hear a blend of rushing air and a ...
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How to model/simulate pressures and flows in a network of pipes

I'm having a hard time finding information on how to model/simulate this. I attached a couple files, both of which show an example tank & pump network. It's just nonsense that I made up for this ...
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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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Can Increasing the Turbulence Inside a Pipeline Economically Increase Flow?

"The velocity gradient in turbulent flows is steeper close to the wall and less steep in the center of the pipe than it is for laminar flows (Blatt p.97)." Does this mean that some degree of ...
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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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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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Why cant one see tidal effects in a glass of water?

Why cant one see the tidal effect in a glass of water like in an ocean?
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Tsunami dampening mechanisms

Encouraged by the zeitgeist let me ask the following: Is it feasible (now or in the future) to build systems a certain distance of a vulnerable coastline which can serve to dampen a tsunami before it ...
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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 ice cubes come out easier from top trays?

This is my "hey, I've noticed that too!" question for the week. If you stack two plastic ice cube trays with water in them in a freezer, the resulting ice cubes in the top tray will usually come out ...
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What kind of energy does superfluidity use?

Liquid helium (and other similar fluids) can "climb up" the walls of their containers. Who does the work in this case, and what kind of energy does it use? I'm sure we can't make a perpetuum mobile ...
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Can cannonballs go through water?

In the recent Spielberg/Jackson Tintin movie, there is a scene where Red Rackham and Captain Haddock's ships are fighting, and cannons are fired. The cannonball is shown at one point to go through a ...
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Is there a way to fill Tank 2 from Tank 1 through Gravity alone?

I am a newbie in water system design but I am currently faced with the exact situation below on my land, and I need to know whether gravity alone is sufficient in order to fill Tank 2 from Tank 1, as ...
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Can vorticity be destroyed?

I have a professor that is fond of saying that vorticity cannot be destroyed. I see how this is true for inviscid flows, but is this also true for viscous flow? The vorticity equation is shown below ...
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Energy from man-made tornadoes

Peter Thiel just paid $300,000 to Canadian inventor Louis Michaud who is working to construct useful "man-made tornadoes" or "atmospheric vortex engines" which could be components of future power ...
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How would you swim in inviscid water?

The viscosity of water creates drag on swimmer's body so its effect is to slow down the swimmer. However the viscosity seems to be essential for pushing the water backwards by the swimmer's arms and ...
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Why is compressible flow near the choke point so efficient?

Imagine a steady state, one-dimensional, compressible flow in a horizontal pipe of constant cross sectional area. This flow can be isothermal, adiabatic (Fanno), or diabatic (Rayleigh). As an ...
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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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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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Festive physics: gold flake vodka

I have a bottle of vodka that has a load of gold flakes suspended in it. It has been sat still for over 24 hours and the flakes are all still suspended within the liquid: they have not risen to 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 do co-rotating vortices coalesce, but not counter-rotating ones?

In studying the aerodynamics of modern aircraft equipped with high-lift devices, I have discovered that quite a number of distinct trailing vortices are present in the immediate wake of an airplane in ...
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Would a perfectly clean and perfectly smooth champagne glass have no bubbles?

My understanding is that nucleation sites for bubbles in a champagne glass are either due to defects in the glass or due to fibers in the glass. (See this article for details on that statement.) Does ...
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Why doesn't a bus blow due to internal pressure?

When one travels in a bus, if he's sitting at any window, he will feel that the air is coming inside. If someone is standing at the open door of the bus, he'll also feel that the air is coming ...
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What about negative Pressure?

Here is something I see : Let's say the ideal fluid(water here) of density $\rho$ is drawn from a source by a motor and thrown upwards with a velocity $v$. Now we take the power of motor be ...
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Fluid in a rotating cylinder

I have been wondering why a fluid in a rotating container has a parabola shape? Is it possible to prove this mathematically?
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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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How do I calculate the Reynolds number in multiphase flows?

I am modeling a gas flowing through a liquid. How do I calculate the Reynolds number in multiphase flows? And, at what Reynolds number should I consider the flow to be turbulent? The problem is of a ...
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Could a fish in a sealed ball, move the ball?

If you had a glass ball filled with water, completely sealed and containing a fish, could the fish move the ball?
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How can one build a multi-scale physics model of fluid flow phenomena?

I am working on a problem in Computational Fluid Dynamics, modeling multi-phase fluid flow through porous media. Though there are continuum equations to describe macroscopic flow (darcy's law, ...