Importance Of Fluid Dynamics

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There are many factors that contribute to the complex operations in this world that often go overlooked. Fluids are one of these aforementioned factors. In retrospection, the majority of Earth is covered with a fluid (water), and is inhabited by living organisms that are mainly composed of water. With these statistics in mind, how could fluids not have a significant influence on the world around us? The study of fluids and their behaviors is defined as fluid dynamics. Fluid dynamics is concerned with the flow of liquids and gases, usually in or around solid surfaces. Applications of fluid dynamics are in abundance. For example, fluid dynamics can be used to analyze the flow of air over an airplane wing or over the surface of an automobile.…show more content…
Fluids have three important characteristics: viscosity, density, and compressibility. Viscosity is the amount of internal friction or resistance to flow a specific fluid has. Water, for instance, is less viscous than syrup, which explains why water flows more easily than syrup. Density is the property of a fluid that determines how thick it is. Compressibility is the property that allows a fluid to be compressed into a smaller volume. All gases are compressible, whereas liquids are practically incompressible. The compressibility, however, is a large factor in variability of results. Fortunately for automobile designers, for speeds less than 220 miles per hour, air can be treated as incompressible for practical purposes. Another important aspect in fluid dynamics is the Mach number. The Mach number is a measurement used in fluid dynamics that compares the velocity of an object traveling through a fluid to the speed of sound in that fluid. For example, the speed of sound in air at sea level is about 760 miles per hour (340 meters per second). Imagine an airplane flying just above the ocean at a speed of 380 miles per hour (170 meters per second). In that case, the Mach number of the airplane would be 380 miles per hour divided by 760 miles per hour or 0.5. The Mach number is named after Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach (18381916), who pioneered the study of supersonic travel, which is travel faster than the speed of sound. The Mach number is especially important in the field of fluid dynamics because the way fluids flow around objects is quite different. For example, when an airplane flies at a speed greater than the speed of sound, sound waves are not able to "get out of the way" of the airplane. This produces shock waves, resulting in the sonic booms heard when an airplane exceeds the speed of sound. Swiss

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