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Fluid Mechanics

  • Definition: Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics that studies fluids (liquids, gases, and plasmas) and the forces on them. Fluid mechanics can be divided into fluid statics, the study of fluids at rest; fluid kinematics, the study of fluids in motion; and fluid dynamics, the study of the effect of forces on fluid motion. It is a branch of continuum mechanics, a subject which models matter without using the information that it is made out of atoms, that is, it models matter from a macroscopic viewpoint rather than from a microscopic viewpoint. Fluid mechanics, especially fluid dynamics, is an active field of research with many unsolved or partly solved problems. Fluid mechanics can be mathematically complex. Sometimes it can best be solved by numerical methods, typically using computers. A modern discipline, called computational fluid dynamics (CFD), is devoted to this approach to solving fluid mechanics problems. Also taking advantage of the highly visual nature of fluid flow is particle image velocimetry, an experimental method for visualizing and analyzing fluid flow.


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