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

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What really allows airplanes to fly?

What aerodynamic effects actually contribute to producing the lift on an airplane? I know there's a common belief that lift comes from the Bernoulli effect, where air moving over the wings is at ...
42
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8answers
17k views

Why does the atmosphere rotate along with the earth?

I was reading somewhere about a really cheap way of travelling: using balloons to get ourselves away from the surface of the earth. The idea held that because the earth rotates, we should be ...
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3answers
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What nonlinear deformations will a fast rotating planet exhibit?

It is common knowledge among the educated that the Earth is not exactly spherical, and some of this comes from tidal forces and inhomogeneities but some of it comes from the rotation of the planet ...
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4answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
19
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4answers
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Have we figured out how to analyze turbulent fluids?

I was surprised to read that we don't know how to analyze turbulent fluids. On page 3-9 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Volume One), Feynman writes: Finally, there is a physical problem that ...
3
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2answers
539 views

Why are continuum fluid mechanics accurate when constituents are discrete objects of finite size?

Suppose we view fluids classically, i.e., as a collection of molecules (with some finite size) interacting via e&m and gravitational forces. Presumably we model fluids as continuous objects that ...
7
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2answers
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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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8answers
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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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3answers
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What is the fallacy in this infinite motion machine?

I realize this isn't possible, but I can't see why not, especially if you change the model a little bit so that the balls simply travel through a tube of water on the way up, rather than exactly ...
11
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3answers
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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 ...
29
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10answers
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Mechanics around a rail tank wagon

Some time ago I came across a problem which might be of interest to the physics.se, I think. The problem sounds like a homework problem, but I think it is not trivial (i am still thinking about it): ...
9
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3answers
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 ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Define Pressure at A point. Why is it a Scalar?

I have a final exam tomorrow for fluid mechanics and I was just looking over the practice exam questions. They do not provide solutions. But pretty much I have to define pressure at a point and also ...
72
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8answers
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Why does a helium filled ballon move forward in a car when the car is accelerating?

I noticed that when I had a helium filled, latex ballon inside of my car, it moved forward in the cabin as I accelerated forward. The faster I accelerated forward, the faster the ballon went from the ...
36
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10answers
6k views

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller?

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller? Intuitively, most people (including I) think of the dust will not stick to rotating fan propellers. EDIT 1: Thank you for the great explanations. I am ...
24
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3answers
1k views

Wind generators - why so few blades?

Why commercial wind generators usually have just 2-3 blades? Having more blades would allow to increase power OR decrease diameter. Decreased diameter would also reduce stress due to different wind ...
29
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2answers
847 views

What forces are at work causing sand to migrate to the centre of a spinning bucket of water? [duplicate]

A bucket is filled with water and a handful of sand. The water is then spun. Why and what forces are in play which cause the sand particles to congregate in the centre of the bucket?
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4answers
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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 ...
3
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2answers
616 views

Bernoulli's equation and reference frames

So I was thinking about this while driving home the other day. I've never been quite clear on why when you drive with the windows down air rushes into your car. I thought this might be explained by ...
3
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1answer
421 views

Is there something like the Poynting vector for hydraulic circuits?

The Poynting vector is a representation of the energy flux in electromagnetics, showing the amount and direction of power flow at different points in space. In electric circuits, the energy is not ...
9
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1answer
734 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
932 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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3answers
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Why do non-Newtonian fluids go hard when having a sudden force exerted on them?

You can dip your hands into a bowl of non-Newtonian fluid but if you are to punch it, it goes hard all of a sudden and is more like a solid than anything else. What is it about a non-Newtonian fluid ...
4
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2answers
397 views

When water is about to boil

Have ever noticed? When water is about to boil, no matters the kettle, there is some sound I have no idea where it comes from, sometimes long before it boils. Is there any explanation for this ...
3
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1answer
446 views

Change in appearance of liquid drop due to gravity

A liquid drop is spherical in shape due to surface tension. But why does it appear as a vertical line under the free-fall due to gravity? (E.g. During a rain - falling raindrop) Is there a specified ...
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2answers
417 views

Are the hypotheses of the Bernoulli equation satisfied for a bird or airplane wing at low Mach number?

A previous question by David Zaslavsky was a request for a broad, "how things work" type of explanation of the lift of an airfoil. The answers given there are enlightening, but don't address a more ...
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12answers
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How long a straw could Superman use?

To suck water through a straw, you create a partial vacuum in your lungs. Water rises through the straw until the pressure in the straw at the water level equals atmospheric pressure. This ...
29
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2answers
4k views

Before a once-warm lake starts to freeze, must its temperature be 4°C throughout at some point?

This is a problem I just started puzzling over, and I felt this would be a good forum to check my reasoning. So here are the relevant observations followed by my question: Water achieves its maximum ...
10
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3answers
431 views

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, ...
24
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3answers
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When water climbs up a piece of paper, where is the energy coming from?

Take a glass of water and piece of toilet paper. If you keep the paper vertical, and touch the surface of the water with the tip of the paper, you can see the water being absorbed and climbing up the ...
9
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2answers
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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 ...
18
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3answers
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Why does the sound pitch increase on every consecutive tick at the bottom of a filled cup of coffee?

Since I don't know the proper physical terms for this, I describe it in everyday English. The following has kept me wondering for quite some time and so far I haven't found a reasonable explanation. ...
19
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1answer
342 views

Flames with no gravity?

I was watching "Solaris" (Tarkovsky) today, and noticed this: in some moment the space station changed orbit and the people inside experienced zero-gravity. At that moment, a candlestick passed ...
10
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6answers
636 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
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Why is pressure in a liquid the same in all directions?

I'd like answers both in the more intuitive side an on the more precise side. Thinking of water as "cubes" of water, for example, would allow pressure in the z axis to be independent of the y or x ...
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1answer
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Exact Solutions to the Navier-Stokes Equations

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?
4
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1answer
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Is there an analytical solution for fluid flow in a square duct?

I couldn't find one but assumed it must exist. Tried to find it on the back of an envelope, but got to an ugly differential equation I can't solve. I'm assuming a square duct of infinite length, ...
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3answers
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Relation between water flow and pressure

Is there any equation that states the relation between pressure and water flow. I.e. Let's say that in 1 hour with 8mca (water collum meters) pressure I obtain 50m3. What if (giving the same ...
8
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3answers
779 views

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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3answers
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How is the Joukowsky Transform used to calculate the Flow of an Airfoil?

As I read in The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, the Joukowsky transform $$w(z) = \frac12\left( z + \frac1z \right)$$ after Nikolai Zhukovsky (transcribed in several versions from Никола́й Его́рович ...
3
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1answer
214 views

Showing symmetry of the stress tensor by applying divergence theorem to $\int\int_{\delta V(t)} \vec{x}\times \vec{t} dS$

I'm currently working through the symmetry of the stress tensor, in relation to viscous flow. I am looking at this by examining the conservation of angular momentum equation for a material volume ...
2
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1answer
394 views

Drag force at high speeds [duplicate]

The drag force on a spherical body according to Stokes' law is given by $$F = 6π\mu rv$$ Where $\mu$ is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid, $r$ is the radius of the spherical object, and $v$ is its ...
13
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4answers
969 views

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 ...
8
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3answers
594 views

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. ...
7
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2answers
378 views

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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2answers
293 views

Can water pressure ever be high enough to trap gas bubbles or keep them from surfacing?

Can water pressure ever become high enough to trap gas bubbles and/or keep them from surfacing?
4
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1answer
288 views

Can a hovering helicopter travel half the globe in 12 hours? [duplicate]

Suppose we have a helicopter that is able to stay stationary in flight for extended periods of time. If such a helicopter stayed at point A in the sky for 12 hours straight, would it reach the other ...
4
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1answer
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Why, when one opens 1 car window, does that noise occur?

When you're driving and you open 1 car window, say the front one, there comes a horrible noise, but when you open another window just the slightest bit, this noise goes away (I'm sure most people know ...