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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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finding equation of a water droplet

I have a water droplet which is falling down through its gravity. I've supposed that my droplet is an ellipsoid and I want to find the equation that represents this ellipsoid in XYZ coordinate system. ...
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Can air bubbles sink at extreme depths? [duplicate]

I was thinking earlier about air bubbles in water. if you had a bubble of air (say in a balloon) then as you take it down in water the bubble shrinks because of the pressure and because it is ...
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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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Why water in the sink follow a curved path?

When you fill the sink with water and then allow the water to be drained, the water forms a vortex.. And then it starts to follow a curved path downwards by effects of gravity.. Why this phenomena ...
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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 is a beam reach the fastest point of sail on modern sailboats?

I've heard that a beam reach (perpendicular to the wind) is the fastest point of sail on modern sailboats, but I haven't heard a satisfying explanation of the physics behind the claim. Triangular ...
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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 do subgrid-scale parametrisations in climate models work?

Global Circulation Models typically have grids of 100-300km on a side. There are obviously lots of atmospheric processes that happen at smaller scales than this. Convection, cloud formation, the ...
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What are the limitations of Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics?

I've been excited by some of the possibilities of Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH). I have seen some very exciting demonstrations of their use in 3D graphics, but I am wondering how well the ...
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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 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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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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What is the symmetry associated with the local particle number conservation law for fluid?

According to Noether's theorem, every continuous symmetry (of the action) yields a conservation law. In fluid, there is a local particle number conservation law, which is ...
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Could the phenomenon of vortex bursting be exploited to reduce wake turbulence?

One of the classic stories in the annals of aerospace engineering is the development (and subsequent redesign) of the F-18 and its Leading Edge Extensions (LEX) due to fatigue problems, problems that ...