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Fluid Dynamics: Get with the Flow

When it comes down to it, for plumbing to work properly, water has to flow. It seems strange that something as simple as plumbing works because of something as complex sounding as “fluid dynamics” which was pioneered in part by scientists like Sir Isaac Newton – but it is true! Maybe “fluid dynamics” isn’t as complicated as it initially seems! Well, it is. Let’s just talk about the basics

Fluid dynamics is just the study of how things flow. This doesn’t just include liquids like the water that flows through your pipes, it also includes air! Yes, the flow of air follows many of the same rules as the flow of water. Following under the header of fluid dynamics is aerodynamics which is the study of air and gases in motion, as well as hydrodynamics which is the study of liquids in motion.

There are three different types of flow that can be applied to water: steady, unsteady, and turbulent flow.

Steady flow is the condition in which the flow of water is not changing. Water just sitting in a pipe is in a state of steady flow.

Unsteady flow is the state in which the flow of water is changing. If water is speeding up or slowing down it is experiencing unsteady flow.  Unsteady flow is a way to get from on state of steady flow to another.

Turbulent flow is by far the most complex sate of flow that water can experience. Turbulent flow is water which is undergoing chaotic property changes. That means the flow of water is moving in multiple directions at on time. Rive rapids are in a state of turbulent flow. Water rolling off of the side of a surfacing submarine is experience turbulent flow.

These are just the basics of fluid dynamics which is an incredibly complex scientific subject. If you are interesting in learning more about fluid dynamics you should start with a basic study of physics!

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