DEVELOPMENT OF FLUID MECHANICS
Development of fluid mechanics

DEVELOPMENT OF FLUID MECHANICS

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Fluid mechanics is that branch of science which deals with the behaviour of the fluids at rest as well as in motion. In general the scope of fluid mechanics is very wide which includes the study of all liquids and gases. But usually it is confined to the study of liquids and those gases for which the effects due to compressibility may be neglected. The gases with appreciable compressibility effects are governed by the laws of Thermodynamics which are however dealt with under the subject of Gas dynamics.

The problems, man encountered in the fields of water supply, irrigation, navigation and water power, resulted in the development of the fluid mechanics. However, with the exception of Archimedes (250 B.C.) Principle which is considered to be as true today as some 2250 years ago, little of the scant knowledge of the ancients appears in modern fluid mechanics. After the fall of Roman Empire (476 A.D.) there is no record of progress made in fluid mechanics until the time of Leonardo da Vinci (1500 A.D.), who designed the first chambered canal lock. However, upto da Vinci’s time, concepts of fluid motion must be considered to be more art than science. Some two hundred years ago mankind’s centuries of experience with the flow of water began to crystallize in scientific form. Two distinct Schools of thought gradually evolved in the treatment of fluid mechanics. One, commonly known as Classical Hydrodynamics, deals with theoretical aspects of the fluid flow, which assumes that shearing stresses are non-existent in the fluids, that is, ideal fluid concept. The other known as Hydraulics, deals with the practical aspects of fluid flow which has been developed from experimental findings and is, therefore, more of empirical nature. Notable contributions to theoretical hydrodynamics have been made by Euler, D’Alembert, Navier, Lagrange, Stokes, Kirchoff, Rayleigh, Rankine, Kelvin, Lamb and many others. Many investigators have contributed to the development of experimental hydraulics, notable amongst them being Chezy, Venturi, Bazin, Hagen, Poiseuille, Darcy, Weisbach, Kutter, Manning, Francis and several others. Although the empirical formulae developed in hydraulics have found useful application in several problems, it is not possible to extend them to the flow of fluids other than water and in the advanced field of aerodynamics. As such there was a definite need for a new approach to the problems of fluid flow—an approach which relied on classical hydrodynamics for its analytical development and at the same time on experimental means for checking the validity of the theoretical analysis. The modern Fluid Mechanics provides this new approach, taking a balanced view of both the theorists and the experimentalists. The generally recognized founder of the modern fluid mechanics is the German Professor, Ludwig Prandtl. His most notable contribution being the boundary layer theory which has had a tremendous influence upon the understanding of the problems involving fluid motion. Other notable contributors to the modern fluid mechanics are Blasius, Bakhmeteff, Nikuradse, Von-Karman, Reynolds, Rouse and many others. In this book the fundamental principles of fluid mechanics applicable to the problems involving the motion of a particular class of fluids called Newtonian fluids (such as water, air, kerosene, glycerine etc.) have been discussed along with the relevant portions of the experimental hydraulics.

 

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