Fluid Mechanics | Definition, Types, Applications [Brief Explanation]

By | December 24, 2018

What is fluid mechanics?

Before understanding fluid mechanics let us first understand ‘mechanics’.

Mechanics is a physical science which deals with the bodies which are either moving or stationary, under the influence of some external force.

Breakdown of fluid mechanics chart

Image attributions: By ME420PSU – PowerpointPreviously published: no, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46477726

Mechanics can be further divided into two parts

  1. Statics

  2. Dynamics

Statics deals with the bodies which are at rest.

Dynamics deals with the bodies which are in motion.

Fluid mechanics is a sub category of mechanics.

Fluid mechanics deals with the behavior of fluids which are either stationary or in motion. It also deals with the interaction of fluids with the boundaries.

Fluid mechanics is sometimes also known as fluid dynamics. Fluids statistics is taken as a special case (of fluid dynamics) where velocity of flow is zero.

Flow around a wing

Flow around a wing

Attribution: By Thierry Dugnolle – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18803279

Fluid dynamics can further be divided into several categories

Hydrodynamics

It is the study of fluid motion when the fluid flow is approximated as in-compressible.

Hydraulics

It is a sub category of hydrodynamics which deals with the flow of liquid through pipes and channels.

Gas dynamics

It is the study of fluid motion when the density of fluid varies.

Aerodynamics

It deals with flow of fluids over aircraft, rockets or automobiles at high or low speeds.

There are also some other categories of fluid dynamics like hydrology, oceanography and meteorology which deals with naturally occurring flow.

Applications of fluid mechanics

Below are some application areas of fluid mechanics (or fluid dynamics)

  • Geophysical phenomenon
  • Navel architecture
  • Hydrology
  • Aerospace
  • Aerodynamics
  • Microfluidics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Magneto-hydrodynamic
  • Cardiovascular study
  • Biophysics
  • Pipe network
  • Turbo-machinery

Also read:

Definition and types of fluids

What are different types of fluid flows?

What is surface tension?

Working of hydraulic pump

Featured image source:

Attribution: By Priit Kallas – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24131244

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