Fluid Dynamics (Encyclopedia of Science)
Fluid dynamics is the study of the flow of liquids and gases, usually in and around solid surfaces. For example, fluid dynamics can be used to analyze the flow of air over an airplane wing or over the surface of an automobile. It also can be used in the design of ships to increase the speed with which they travel through water.
Scientists use both experiments and mathematical models and calculations to understand fluid dynamics. A wind tunnel is an enclosed space in which air can be made to flow over a surface, such as the model of an airplane. Smoke is added to the air stream so that the flow of air can be observed and photographed.
The data collected from wind tunnel studies and other experiments are often very complex. Scientists today use models of fluid behavior and powerful computers to analyze and interpret those data.
The field of fluid dynamics is often subdivided into aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. Aerodynamics is the study of the way air flows around airplanes and automobiles with the aim of increasing the efficiency of motion. Hydrodynamics deals with the flow of water in various situations such as in pipes, around ships, and underground. Apart from the more familiar cases, the principles of fluid dynamics can be used to understand an almost unimaginable variety of phenomena such as the flow of blood in blood vessels, the flight of geese...
(The entire section is 1504 words.)
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