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

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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 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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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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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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How much of the forces when entering water is related to surface tension?

When an object enters water with high velocity, (like in Why is jumping into water from high altitude fatal?), most of it's kinetic energy will be converted, eg to accelerate water, deform the object ...
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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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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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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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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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Conservation Vs Non-conservation Forms of conservation Equations

I understand mathematically how one can obtain the conservation equations in both the conservative $${\partial\rho\over\partial t}+\nabla\cdot(\rho \textbf{u})=0$$ ...
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A fly in an accelerating car

A fly is flying around in a car, the fly never touches any surface in the car only fly’s around in the air inside the car. The car accelerates. does the fly slam in to the rear window. or does the fly ...
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How far can water rise above the edge of a glass?

When you fill a glass with water, water forms a concave meniscus with constant contact angle $\theta$ (typically $\theta=20^\circ$ for tap water): Once you reach the top of the glass, the water-air ...
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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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How much effect does the Bernoulli effect have on lift?

I understand that the Bernoulli effect is a flawed explanation for the cause of lift, and does not cause much at all, but how much? Is there any experimental data on the force caused by the ...
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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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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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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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Is there a definite boundary between a powder and a fluid?

Given a powder of solid substance what will happen if we make the granules smaller and smaller mechanically? Will this eventually make a liquid or gas from the powder? Can there be gaseous substanse ...
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Why aren't airplanes like golf balls?

Ok this is a silly question but here it goes Although it is good to have a laminar flow of the air around the object for low drag but the laminar flow is prone the phenomena called separation (sounds ...
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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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Would a solution to the Navier-Stokes Millennium Problem have any practical consequences?

I know the problem is especially of interest to mathematicians, but I was wondering if a solution to the problem would have any practical consequences. Upon request: this is the official problem ...
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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 do ice cubes stick together or to the edges of a drinking glass?

I was drinking iced-water from a drinking glass (made of glass) at a restaurant yesterday when I was taking a drink, I noticed that there is very little ice water coming out and then suddenly, the ice ...
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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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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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Momentum of slowly spinning (viscous) fluid

If we have a massless cylindrical container (or radius $R$) with a liquid of certain density $\rho$ and viscosity $\mu$ at rest. Then at time zero we impart a constant rotational velocity $\Omega$ on ...
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What stops giant cruise ships toppling over in rough seas?

A week ago, 2 of the most gigantic cruise ships in the world docked near my city. If you have seen one, or been on one, you will know how large they are. They look extremely unsafe to me, although ...
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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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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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The optics of vortex (in water): why there is a bright ring?

This picture is from this YouTube video from "Physics Girl", which shows how you can generate vortices in a swimming pool by using a plate: And there she explains the creation of the shaded circle ...
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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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What is enstrophy?

In turbulence, the enstrophy of a flow in a domain $\mathcal{D} \subset \mathbb{R}^{D}$ $$ \mathcal{E} = \int_{\mathcal{D}} |\vec{\nabla} \times \, \vec{v}|^2 d^{D}x $$ appears sometimes, it's cool ...
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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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Why does pressure act as a source for the gravitational field?

I'm asking for a qualitative explanation if there is one. My own answer doesn't work. I would have guessed it's because when a gas has pressure the kinetic energy adds to the rest mass of a given ...
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How are the turbulent spectra determined in relativistic turbulence?

In a non-relativistic compressible fluid, the turbulent energy spectra are well-understood and appear to follow the Kolmogorov hypothesis. It would also appear that relativistic turbulence also ...
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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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Lagrangian Coordinates in Fluid Flow

I apologize if this is not the right place to ask this question: I am currently reading a paper by Y. Brenier, where for the fluid flow he introduces a Lagrangian label $a$ instead of the vertical ...
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Fluid Mechanics with calculus on manifolds

Fluid Mechanics is a branch of physics that uses a lot of vector calculus in $\mathbb{R}^3$ to describe phenomena mathematically. Calculus on manifolds, however, is the straightforward generalization ...
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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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Conserved quantities and total derivatives?

I am having a bit of a crisis in understanding of the physical meanings of total derivatives. When a quantity $\rho$ (be it a vector or a scalar) is said to be conserved, then (mathematically) ...
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What does the Reynolds Number of a flow represent physically?

What does the Reynolds Number of a flow represent physically? I am having trouble understanding the meaning and the utility of the Reynolds number for a certain flow, could someone please tell me how ...
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Exact Solutions to the Navier-Stokes Equations [closed]

There are a number of exact solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations. How many exact solutions are currently known? Is it possible to enumerate all of the solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations?
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Why does the water level equalize in a series of tubes?

Say I have a series of tubes (not the internet) looking like this, where w represents water: ...
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How does a hole's size affect the distance that water will squirt

I took a bucket, drilled 2 different sized holes on the side near the bottom and filled it with water. The stream of water the proceeded from the larger hole traveled further than the stream from the ...
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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 ...