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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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270 views

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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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 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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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, ...
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248 views

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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What exactly is the difference between advection and convection?

After reading Wikipedia articles on advection and convection, I still cannot determine whether there is a consensus on a difference between these two terms. Sometimes, the term convection seems to ...
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326 views

Why does a transformation to a rotating reference frame NOT break temporal scale invariance?

Naively, I thought that transforming a scale invariant equation (such as the Navier-Stokes equations for example) to a rotating reference frame (for example the rotating earth) would break the ...
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585 views

Resolving water sink problem

There is a common myth that water flowing out from a sink should rotate in direction governed by on which hemisphere we are; this is shown false in many household experiments, but how to show it ...
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The Galileo thermometer: why do the bubbles float in the middle of the tube?

If the water were uniform temperature, it would have uniform density, so a bubble should either be all the way at the top (if it's lighter than water) or all the way at the bottom (if heavier). But in ...
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What does the quantification of causes and effect look like, for clouds in offshore wind turbine wakes?

At Horns Rev windfarm off the coast of Denmark, sometimes in winter, clouds appears in the wake of the turbines. I've only seen photos of the phenomenon when the wind direction is exactly aligned with ...
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882 views

How does a sponge “suck” up water against gravity?

If I take a sponge and place it in a shallow dish of water (i.e. water level is lower than height of sponge), it absorbs water until the sponge is wet, including a portion of the sponge above the ...
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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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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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Water pressure in free fall

The increasing water pressure as you go deeper is generally explained in terms of the weight of the water column above the observation point pressing down. The question, then, is what would happen if ...
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Differences in the behaviour of pinching a garden hose and closing a tap

Let's say you have a garden hose connected to an ordinary water tap which is opened fully. If you pinch the end of the hose, water leaves the hose at a higher speed (and this can be useful while ...
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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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177 views

Strange behaviour of water drops on a heated pan

I did an experiment in my home and I was surprised by the results. I heated a pan without anything in it. After some time it became very hot and I took some water (2 drops) and put it into the pan. It ...
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660 views

Friction term in Navier-Stokes equation

The friction term in Navier-Stokes equation assumes that the viscosity coefficients are the same for the longitudinal and transverse directions. This doesn't seem intuitive, because the former is ...
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water flow in a sink

When one turns on the tap in the kitchen, a circle is observable in the water flowing in the sink. The circle is the boundary between laminar and turbulent flow of the water (maybe this is the wrong ...
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What is the microscopic picture for warm air rising?

The usual explanation for warm fluids rising past cooler ones is that the warmer fluid has a lower density. I'm trying to understand what this looks like at a molecular scale. The density seems to ...
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491 views

Physical Explanation for “Kolmogorov -5/3 spectrum” in Fluid Mechanics

According to Kolmogorov, the energy spectrum function of a turbulent fluid is given as, $E(k)=C\epsilon^{\frac{2}{3}}k^{\frac{-5}{3}}$ where $\epsilon$ is the energy flux and $k=\frac{2\pi}{r}$ ...
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Why do galaxies and water going down a plug hole spin?

We all experience things spinning, whether it's water down a drain, the earth on its axis, planets round the sun, or stars in a galaxy - even electrons round an atom. But why is spin so common in ...
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Why does water flow out of an upside-down bottle? (Rayleigh Taylor Instability)

I am currently reading the excellent book An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet by Francis F. Chen and I came across this explanation. The Rayleigh–Taylor Instability ...
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Boundary layer theory in fluids learning resources

I'm trying to understand boundary layer theory in fluids. All I've found are dimensional arguments, order of magnitude arguments, etc... What I'm looking for is more mathematically sound arguments. ...
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How can I understand a Vortex Tube and its efficiency?

A Vortex Tube takes a pressurized input stream, most typically of a gas, and creates two output streams with a temperature differential. Apparently, it has been described as a Maxwell's Demon. Both ...
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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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What can wavy patterned sand tell about the Fluid that formed it?

Sand on the bottom of the ocean as well as sand on the low-tide beach often forms wavy patterns. Do the parameters of these wavy patterns have any relation to the water and waves that formed them? If ...
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Zigzag flow of water along a vertical glass window

I've observed this behavior many times. When it rains, the rainwater will form vertical channels along a glass window. The flow of water is mostly confined within these vertical channels and the ...
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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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950 views

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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Are smaller soap bubbles more accelerated by wind?

If you blow a bunch of soap bubbles outside, and a gust of wind hits them, will the bigger ones be more or less accelerated by the wind than the smaller ones? Intuitively, and maybe from remembered ...
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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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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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Why can't helicopters reach mount everest?

Is there a reason why people can't just take the helicopter to mount Everest? Why is it that helicopters can't reach that high?
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Explanation that air drag is proportional to speed or square speed?

A falling object with no initial velocity with mass $m$ is influenced by a gravitational force $g$ and the drag (air resistance) which is proportional to the object's speed. By Newton´s laws this can ...
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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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What equation of state is needed for liquid states?

I'm familiar with the ideal gas law $$PV=nRT$$ but I don't think it applies to liquids like water. If I'm wrong, please correct me! If I'm right, then what equation of state applies to liquids such ...