Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals and Applications in Engineering

October 27, 2015 |

In this article , we introduce the subject of fluids engineering and its role in applications as diverse as aerodynamics, biomedical and biological engineering, piping systems, microfluidics, and sports engineering.

Please have a look at : Properties of Fluid and their applications

Post Contents

The Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics

The study of fluids, which are classified as either liquids or gases, is further broken down into the areas of fluid statics and dynamics. Mechanical engineers apply the principles of fluid statics to calculate the pressure and buoyancy force of fluids acting on stationary objects, including ships, tanks, and dams. Fluid dynamics refers to the behavior of liquids or gases when they are moving or when an object is moving through an otherwise stationary fluid.
Hydrodynamics and aerodynamics are the specializations focusing on the motions of water and air, which are the most common fluids encountered in engineering. Those fi elds encompass not only the design of high-speed vehicles but also the motions of oceans and the atmosphere. Some engineers and scientists apply sophisticated computational models to simulate and understand interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, and global climates
(Figure 1). The motion of fine pollutant particles in the air, improved weather forecasting, and the precipitation of raindrops and hailstones are some of the key issues that are addressed. The field of fluid mechanics is an exacting one, and many advances in it have occurred in conjunction with developments in applied mathematics and computer science. Fluids engineering fits within the broader context of the mechanical engineering topics shown in Figure 2 .

Figure 1 : The ﬁeld of ﬂuids engineering can involve the motion of ﬂuids on very large—even planetary—scales. Storms on the Earth, as well as the Great Red Spot on Jupiter shown here, form and move according to the principles of ﬂuid mechanics. Courtesy of NASA and the National Space Science System requirements Data Center

Figure : 2 Relationship of the topics emphasized in this chapter (shaded boxes) relative to an overall program of study in mechanical engineering.

Fluid Mechanics Applications in Mechanical Engineering

Reflecting on the top-ten list of the mechanical engineering profession’s achievements , some 88% of the electricity in the United States is produced by a process that involves continuously cycling water between liquid and steam, and back again. Coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fuels are used to heat water into steam, which in turn drives turbines and electrical generators. Another 7% of America’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power plants, and wind power provides a smaller fraction still. Collectively speaking, over 98% of the electricity in the United States is produced through processes that involve fluids engineering in one form or another.

The properties of fluids, the forces they generate, and the manner in which they flow from one location to another are key aspects of mechanical engineering. Fluid mechanics also plays a central role in biomedical engineering, a field that was ranked as one of the mechanical engineering profession’s top ten achievements. Biomedical applications include the design of devices that deliver medicine by inhaling an aerosol spray and the flow of blood through arteries and veins. These devices are capable of performing chemical and medical diagnostics by exploiting the properties of fluids on microscopic scales. This emerging field, which is known as , microfluidics offers the potential for advances in genomic research and pharmaceutical discovery. Just as the field of electronics has undergone a revolution in miniaturization, chemical and medical laboratory equipment that presently fill an entire room is being miniaturized and made more economical.
The forces generated by stationary or moving fluids are important to the hardware designed by mechanical engineers. Up to this point, we have considered mechanical systems where the forces arise from gravity or the interactions between connected components. Forces are also generated by liquids and gases, and in the upcoming  articles we will examine the fluid forces known as buoyancy, drag, and lift. Mechanical engineers
apply sophisticated computer-aided engineering tools to understand complex air flows around aircraft and automobiles. In fact, those same methods have been applied to design golf balls capable of longer flight and to help ski jumpers, racing cyclists, marathon runners, and other athletes improve their performances.

Category: Fluidics, Mechanical