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 ...
55
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8answers
35k 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 ...
3
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4answers
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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 ...
26
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
34
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
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4answers
2k views

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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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 ...
26
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5answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
16
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3answers
847 views

How to show that the Coriolis effect is irrelevant for the whirl/vortex in the sink/bathtub?

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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2answers
822 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 ...
36
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2answers
3k 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 ...
14
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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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1answer
195 views

The velocity of the flowing coming out of the balloons?

Last day , when i was working on two interconnected balloons , a question was kicking my brains !!! This is the explanation of the question: First , suppose a system that composed of two spherical ...
86
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8answers
16k views

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 ...
34
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11answers
3k views

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): ...
30
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2answers
992 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?
19
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1answer
491 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
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2answers
241 views

How does the radius of a pipe affect the rate of flow of fluid?

Poiseuille's law states that the rate of flow of water is proportionate to $r^4$ where $r$ is the radius of the pipe. I don't see why. Intuitively I would expect rate of flow of fluid to vary with ...
7
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
6
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
45
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11answers
11k 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 ...
17
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
36
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3answers
2k views

What is the minimum pressure of a medium for which a sound wave can exist?

At what pressure will be particles in a medium be unable to form a sound wave when disturbed? How can this pressure be described mathematically? My guess is that this would correspond to the point at ...
7
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4answers
710 views

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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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 ...
5
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4answers
3k views

What is the physics behind a soap bubble?

A soap bubble is an extremely thin film of soapy water enclosing air that forms a hollow sphere with an iridescent surface. What fluid dynamical process occurs during the popping of a soap bubble?
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2answers
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How Reynolds number was derived?

I'm studying fluid dynamics and recently the formula $Re=\frac{\rho vd}{\eta}$ was presented to me. I'm curious to know how Reynolds came up with this relations between this different variables. Did ...
4
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1answer
422 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 ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Book recommendations for fluid dynamics self study

I have my bachelors degree in engineering science: computer science, option electrotechnic. I have a good understanding of basic mechanics and dynamics, calculus (differential equations). The books ...
2
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1answer
310 views

The Spinning Log “Perpetual Motion” problem, and my attempt at a solution

So I was introduced to this "perpetual motion" riddle a few weeks ago. The problem goes like this: we all know perpetual motion machines are not possible, but this riddle seems like it should work as ...
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1answer
13k views

Calculation of pressure from flow rate of water

Anybody kindly help me to find how to calculate pressure in bar from flow rate. I have a pipe and from that I am transferring water at a constant flow rate of 5ml/min. At this flow rate, with a 0.5 cm ...
42
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5answers
14k views

How effective is speeding?

At a simple level, speeding in a car attempts to minimize the time required to travel a distance by utilizing the basic relationship: $$d=st$$ So for a given distance, time should be inversely ...
32
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2answers
8k 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 ...
35
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3answers
3k views

What is going on in front of and behind a fan?

Why is it that when you drop paper behind a fan, it drops, and is not blown/sucked into the fan, whereas if you drop paper in front of a fan, it is blown away?
31
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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 ...
7
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2answers
6k views

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 ...
6
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1answer
2k views

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?
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3answers
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Classical Limit of Schrodinger Equation

There is a well-known argument that if we write the wavefunction as $\psi = A \exp(iS/\hbar)$, where $A$ and $S$ are real, and substitute this into the Schrodinger equation and take the limit $h \to ...
8
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4answers
7k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
264 views

How does the divergence theorem justify the integral form of the continuity equation?

I vaguely understand the continuity equation (at least its integral form), but I don't really understand the differential form of the continuity equation. I'm having trouble understanding how to ...
21
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2answers
2k views

Why does a nuclear explosion have directionality?

It just occurred to me that almost all images I've seen of the (in)famous mushroom cloud show a vertical column rising perpendicular to the ground and a horizontal planar ring parallel to the ground. ...
9
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4answers
938 views

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
votes
2answers
1k views

How is the water meniscus at the edge of a capillary tube

Suppose we have a capillary tube in which water can rise to a height of x cm. If we dip the tube such that the height above the surface is less than x, then how will the water meniscus be at the edge ...
4
votes
1answer
621 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 ...
3
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1answer
192 views

Nonlinear waves and shock formation

In the cases of nonlinear acoustics, why is shock formation unlikely when the dispersion is strong when compared to the nonlinearity of the wave?
9
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1answer
831 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...