2
$\begingroup$

My teacher told me the following examples of Bernoulli's principle. I didn't understand how Bernoulli's principle is applied in these examples.

  1. It is dangerous to stand on edge of platform when train is approaching.
  2. During storms the roof of houses are blown off.

I have trouble finding the areas of low pressure and high pressure in the above example. Where are they located? I have trouble thinking the uses of Bernoulli's principle. When is Bernoulli's principle used and why?

I have trouble figuring out how was Bernoulli's principle was used for the above example to show these example true as Bernoulli's principle states that the sum of pressure energy, kinetic energy and Potential Energy per unit volume is constant for streamline flow of ideal fluid.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Physics! Please note that Physics.StackExchange is not a homework help site. Please see this Meta post on asking homework questions and this Meta post for "check my work" problems. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Feb 7 '15 at 9:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is not a home work question. At least tell me how is the Bernoulli's principal applied to the first example. $\endgroup$ – pcforgeek Feb 7 '15 at 9:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @pcforgeek Please, first read the guidelines that John linked. Then improve your question a bit accordingly. Especially, what part of the Bernoulli theorem is causing troubles for you? You can demonstrate that with your examples, but your example should not be leading in your question. $\endgroup$ – Bernhard Feb 7 '15 at 12:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bernhard Edited the question. Hope it's clear and correct now. $\endgroup$ – pcforgeek Feb 7 '15 at 12:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If it helps, I think the easiest way to understand Bernoulli is the simplest: to make a fluid accelerate (change speed), you need a difference in pressure. It's just $F = ma$ for fluid. $\endgroup$ – Mike Dunlavey Feb 8 '15 at 21:15
2
$\begingroup$

First a brief summary on what Bernoulli principle and the corresponding equation state in the simple case of air at equilibrium. As you mentioned, Bernoulli's effect tells you that energy is conserved along a streamline. Thus the sum of kinetic energy, potential energy and internal energy remains constant and an increase in the speed of the fluid – implying an increase in both its dynamic pressure $\rho v^2/2$ and kinetic energy – occurs with a simultaneous decrease in (the sum of) its static pressure, potential energy and internal energy.

Another simple view is the following: a pressure gradient between two points on a streamline causes a net force, a 'push' from the higher pressure area to the lower pressure one. Thus, by Newton's 2nd Law, acceleration of air is caused by pressure gradients. Air is accelerated in direction of the velocity if the pressure goes down. Thus the decrease of pressure is the cause of a higher velocity. [See also Weltner, Klaus; Ingelman-Sundberg, Martin, Misinterpretations of Bernoulli's Law]

Let's now focus on your two examples:

  1. The passing train causes an increase in the velocity of the air in proximity of the platform edge. This temporary effect, lowers the pressure experienced in front of a person standing there, i.e., it creates a difference of pressure between the back and the front of the person, pushing her forward.

To be more precise, the pressure of the air is $p_A$ before the approaching train passes. Since everything is at equilibrium, there is no gradient between the air in front and behind the edge of the platform. During the transit, the air between the person and the train experiences an increased velocity, and therefore a lower pressure, e.g. $p'=p_A-\Delta p$. This $\Delta p$ can be calculated using Bernoulli's equation. Its effect is that of a net force, pushing the person from the edge of the platform towards the tracks.

  1. The same effect causes an house roof to blow off when there is strong wind. Indeed, when the wind kicks up, the pressure on top of the roof (outside the house) drops, and the pressure gradient between inside (higher pressure, stationary air) and outside (low pressure, high speed) works as a net force pushing the roof upwards.

In both cases one could argue that the air could flow in the surroundings of the place where the phenomenon takes place, restoring equilibrium. But in fact, in both cases, the velocities are such that there isn't time for air to flow in and out of the house to cause the corresponding decrease in the interior pressure. That's why you get a pressure gradient across the roof.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by pressure behind the track? Why does such a pressure exist there? You also said that the pressure from behind the track pushed forward, towards areas of low pressure. The place where we are standing should also have low pressure as you said "This temporary effect, lowers the pressure experienced by a person standing there." $\endgroup$ – pcforgeek Feb 7 '15 at 10:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @pcforgeek I edited the answer to clarify it. Hope it is clear now. $\endgroup$ – usumdelphini Feb 7 '15 at 13:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.