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Water is the fluid which is of primary interest to civil and environmental engineers. Areas of key
interest include: water conservation and supply; wastewater disposal; harbour and river works; flood
mitigation; coastal and ocean engineering; irrigation; and, drainage.
They may be concerned with the behaviour of other liquids and, to a limited extent, with water
vapour, air and other gases.
Therefore, an essential component of their knowledge is the branch of the science of fluid mechanics
known as hydraulics, which deals with the mechanical properties and the motion of liquids. They also
require an insight into the physical properties and behaviour of fluids generally including the
theoretical behaviour of fluids or hydrodynamics.
Fluid mechanics involves the study of fluid behaviour under particular boundary conditions and the
prediction of patterns of fluid motion and of the pressures and forces associated with those patterns.
Engineers need to understand the statics, kinematics and dynamics of fluids and the ability to apply
the principle of conservation of mass, Newton's laws of motion, the equation of state for gases, the
concepts of elasticity and viscosity and other fluid properties and the theory of dimensions.
These form the background to the study of hydrostatics, the stability of floating bodies, energy and
momentum changes in fluid flow, hydraulic model theory, turbulence, fluid drag, flow in pipes and
channels, flow measurement and the performance of pumps and turbines.
In Introduction to Water Engineering, we restrict our studies to the behaviour of internal flows: flow
in which movement is constrained by a conduit primarily pressurised flow in pipes. Later in your
course you will be introduced to the behaviour of open channel flow, sediment transport, surface
water and groundwater systems and the linkages between these.
The science of mechanics is based upon Newton's laws of motion, which involve the basic
dimensions: length (L), time (T), force (F) and mass (M). These are the only basic dimensions which
may be involved in any mechanics equation. Since, from Newton's second law:
force = mass acceleration, or,



the four basic dimensions are related as:

F = M LT-2
Any one of the four basic dimensions can be expressed by a combination of the other three. Hence, a
mechanics equation can be considered as involving no more than three basic dimensions. It is
convenient, at times, to consider these three as L, T and M and, at other times, as L, T and F.
Physical equations have a requirement that they be dimensionally homogeneous. Consider, for
example, the equation p= V 2 /2 in which p is a pressure change, is density and V is a velocity.
The equivalent dimensional equation in terms of M, L and T are derived as follows. p is a force
change divided by an area (MLT-2/L2ML-1T-2) and V 2 /2 has dimensions (ML-3.LT-1.LT-1ML-1T2
). Hence, the equation is dimensionally homogeneous.

Fluid Properties

Dimensional analysis is a powerful tool in the treatment of the complex processes inherent to
fluid mechanics. Dimensional analysis will be discussed later in the session.
Some engineers do not use dimensionally homogeneous equations the practice is unscientific,
has specific hazards associated and is to be avoided except in quite specific cases.
A fluid is a substance that can flow. That is, when subjected to a shear stress, fluids will deform
In contrast to solids, fluids generally offer relatively little resistance to the action of shearing
forces and it cannot maintain a condition of static equilibrium under such action. A liquid is a
fluid which, placed in an open container, takes the shape of the container and has a free surface.
A gas is a fluid which, placed in a closed container, expands so as to fill the container. It is
much less dense than a liquid and has a considerably lower modulus of elasticity, that is, it is
more easily compressed. Liquids may contain gases in solution or gas bubbles or solid particles
in suspension.
The mass of a body is the amount of matter it contains expressed in kg.
The weight of a body is the force due to gravitational attraction exerted on the body expressed
in N (Newtons). Weight is equal to mass times acceleration due to gravity.
Density () is the mass per unit volume (kg/m-3) having the dimensions ML-3. Important
approximate values are:
1000 kg/m3
Fresh water (20C)
1025 kg/m3
Sea water (20'C)
1. 23 kg/m3
Air (15C)
Unit weight () is the weight per unit volume. It has the dimensions ML-2T-2 and =g .
Relative density (r.d.) or specific gravity (s.g.) is the ratio of the density of a material to that of
pure water at some specified temperature (often 20C). It is dimensionless.
Specific volume (vs) is the volume per unit mass. vs=1/. This quantity is rarely used for liquids
but may be convenient for describing gas behaviour.
The pressure at a point in a fluid, p, is equal to the normal force applied to a surface element of
fluid divided by its area when the limit is taken of the area of the surface element containing the
point approaches zero. The surface element may be part of a solid boundary or of an imaginary
plane through the point within the fluid. Provided that no shearing stresses exist in the region, p
has the one value at the point for all orientations of the surface element. It is a scalar quantity. In
general, p varies from point to point within a fluid.
The unit of pressure is the Pascal (Pa), which is one Newton per square metre (N/m2). Pressure
referred to absolute zero as datum is an absolute pressure. It is frequently more convenient to
use the local atmospheric pressure as the reference datum. As this is the pressure recorded by
some forms of pressure gauge, it is termed gauge pressure.

Fluid Properties

Atmospheric pressure varies with location, elevation and time, an approximate working value at
ground level being 101,300 Pa abs.
The inter-relationship between pressure, volume and temperature of real gases, at temperatures
well above liquefaction temperature and at other than high pressure, is closely approximated by
the gas law for "ideal" or "perfect" gases. It can be expressed as:
pv s =RT
p= RT
where p is the absolute pressure and T is the absolute temperature K = C + 273 and R is the
gas constant for the particular gas under consideration.
The Universal Gas Constant, 8314 JK-1(kg-mole)-1, is the energy per degree for a mass equal to
the relative molecular mass M, expressed in kg (such a mass being called a kg-mole) and it is
the same for all gases, assuming ideal conditions.
The corresponding energy per unit mass is therefore the universal gas constant divided by the
relative molecular mass R = 8314/M JK-1kg-1
Calculate vs, and for methane (CH4) at 50C and 100 kPa gauge.
M = 12 + 4 = 16
R = 8314/16 = 520 JK-1kg-1
p = 100 + 101.3 = 201.3 kPa = 2.01 x 105 Pa abs.
T = 50 + 273 =323 K
vs = RT/p = 0.84 m3/kg; = 1.20 kg/m3; =11.73 N/m3.
The effect of a change in pressure on the volume of a gas depends upon the extent of heat
energy lost or gained in the process. Limiting cases are the isothermal change, which occurs
sufficiently slowly for heat to be exchanged so that the temperature of the gas remains constant;
and the adiabatic change, in which there is neither heat exchange nor creation by turbulence.
For isothermal processes pvs = constant p/ = C1
For adiabatic processes pvsk = constant p/k= C2
where k is the adiabatic exponent = the specific heat at constant pressure (or cp) divided by the
specific heat at constant volume (or cv).
The adiabatic exponents, k, for air, H2, O2 and N2 are all 1.40.
The change of density with increase of pressure is of importance in certain situations, both for
liquids and gases. The compressibility of a fluid is expressed by its bulk modulus of elasticity,
E, which is the ratio of the increase in pressure to the resulting volumetric strain.
E =


Fluid Properties
E =+



where V represents volume. Note the changes in sign above and that in eqn. (4), the sign
denotes a negative volume change for a positive pressure change.
For liquids E is very much greater than for gases. For water, E = 2.2 x 109 Pa or 2.2 GPa at
20C. It increases to nearly 2.3 GPa at 50C and decreases thereafter. It also increases slowly
with increase in pressure, at a rate of about 1% per 3500 kPa.
Find the change in volume of one m3 of water due to an increase in pressure of 4 atmospheres
(405 kPa).
dV/V=-dp/E=-405103/2.2109=-1/5429 or dV=-1/5429 m3
For gases, E is proportional to p, the constant of proportionality depending upon the extent of
heat exchange.
For isothermal processes, p = C1
=C 1=

E= = = p


For adiabatic processes, p = C2 k

=kC 2 k 1=

E= = =kp


Under adiabatic conditions, the retention of heat energy in a gas undergoing compression makes
it more resistant to compression than it would be if the heat energy were able to escape and the
process were isothermal.
When a small pressure disturbance (such as a sound wave) travels through an elastic medium its
celerity c, or velocity relative to the medium, is the acoustic or sonic velocity:
c= E /
Owing to the rapidity of the compression and/or expansion of the medium, there is negligible
heat exchange and the process is regarded as adiabatic. For a gas, it follows from equations (3)
and (7) that:
c= kRT
so that for a particular gas, c depends only on T.
For air at 15C (285 K) c= 1. 4287285=338 m/s
For water c= E / = 2 . 1510 9 /1000=1470 m/s


Fluid Properties
If the fluid is in a conduit, the elastic deformation of the conduit reduces the sonic celerity.
The effect of viscosity can be described by reference to a simple example of viscous (or laminar
or non-turbulent) flow.
If a flat, solid boundary in contact with a fluid moves in its own plane, that is, tangentially, the
fluid molecules in contact with it, move with it, without slipping along it.
Consider two parallel, horizontal plates, a small distance Y apart, with a fluid occupying the
space between them. (Figure 1) If the upper plate moves in the x-direction with a velocity U and
the lower one is stationary, the molecules in contact with the upper plate move with it and those
in contact with the lower plate remain stationary.
Owing to inter-molecular cohesion and to the vertical transfer of momentum of the rapidly
fluctuating molecules, the fluid between the plates is subjected to forward drag from above and
a restraining drag from below. In effect, all of the fluid suffers a shearing deformation and
offers resistance to the shearing motion. This property possessed by all fluids whereby they
resist shearing stresses and is called viscosity.

F o r c e F m o v in g
u p p e r p la te
F o r c e F r e s tr a in in g
lo w e r p la te

M o v in g p la te
V e lo c ity U

V e lo c it y
d is tr ib u tio n

S h e a r s tre s s
d is tr ib u tio n

F ix e d p la te

Figure 1. Velocity and shear stress distribution for viscous motion

between a fixed plate and a parallel, moving plate.

The force, F, moving the upper plate and the equal and opposite force restraining the lower
plate result in a constant shear stress throughout the fluid equal to F/A where A is the area of
the plates.
The fluid velocity, u, in the x-direction will vary along a line normal to the plates, the velocity
gradient along such line being du/dy The relationship between shear stress and the velocity
gradient in a direction normal to that of the shear stress, according to Newton's law of viscosity,
where is the viscosity (also called the dynamic viscosity or the absolute viscosity).
Many common fluids, including air and water, conform to this relationship and are called
Newtonian fluids. Some (notably slurries for us), do not.
For the case in Figure 1, since and are constant, du/dy is also constant and a linear
relationship exists between velocity and distance from the lower plate.
The difference between the shear stress / shear strain relationship for solids and for liquids
should be noted.


Fluid Properties
A solid, under a shearing action, deforms to an equilibrium condition at which the internal
resistance balances the external shearing couple; and the shear stress = G the shear strain,
where G is the shear modulus of elasticity. When the cause of shear stress is removed, the solid
returns to its original form, provided that the proportional limit has not been exceeded.
A fluid continues to deform so long as a shearing action is applied and the shear stress = the
rate of shear strain. When the shearing action ceases, the shear stress disappears and the fluid
remains in the deformed state.
For practical purposes, viscosity is independent of pressure changes. The viscosity of liquids,
being due primarily to molecular cohesion, decreases with increase in temperature. The
viscosity of gases is due primarily to molecular momentum transfer and increases with
At 20C, the viscosity of water is approximately 10-3 Pa.s.
At 15C, the viscosity of air at atmospheric pressure is 1.8 x 10-5 Pa.s about 1/56 of the
viscosity of water.
The kinematic viscosity () of a fluid is the ratio of its dynamic viscosity to its density:


The kinematic viscosity of a liquid is scarcely affected by increase in pressure and it decreases
with increase in temperature. In the case of a gas, decreases with an increase in pressure and
increases with an increase in temperature.
The space between two parallel plane walls 5mm apart is filled with the fuel oil with a relative
density of 0.86 and a dynamic viscosity of 0.0072 Pa.s.
A flat plate 1.5m long, and 0.25m wide and
one mm thick is pulled in the direction of its
length, parallel to and midway between the
walls at a speed of 0.4m/s.

0 .4 m /s

2m m
1m m
2m m

Find the force required to pull the plate.

dv/dy = 0.4/0.002 = 200s-1
F = 2A = 2A dv/dy = 2 1.5 0.25 0.0072 200 = 1.08 N
A flat, cylindrical container 302mm in
diameter and 4mm deep is filled with a
liquid with a kinematic viscosity of 1.19
10 m /s and a relative density of 1.26. A
circular disc 300mm in diameter is placed
in contact with the liquid surface and
rotated at 30 revolutions per minute.
Assuming that centrifugal effects are
negligible, find the torque required to rotate
the disc.

Fluid Properties

= = 1.26010001.1910-3 =1.5 Pa.s

= 2 30/60 = rad/s
At any radius r, dv/dy = v/h = r/h
= dv/dy = r/h
dT = dA r = (r/h)(2rdr)r

T = dT T =R4/2h = 1.5 x 0.154 /(2 0.004) = 0.94 N.m




Surface Tension.
The mutual attraction of adjacent molecules in a liquid results in a liquid molecule very close to
a free surface being subjected to a net inward force perpendicular to the surface (Fig. 3a). Work
must be expended to separate a body of liquid so as to create two free surfaces - that is to
overcome the molecular cohesive force (Fig. 3b). This work is stored as surface energy in the
surfaces so formed, the energy per unit surface area being designated by joules per square
metre (J/m2) which is dimensionally equivalent to N/m, a force per unit length.
L iq u id s u r fa c e

S e p a r a t io n o f a
liq u id t o fo r m tw o
fr e e s u r fa c e s

N e t in w a r d fo r c e s
o n m o le c u le s n e a r
liq u id s u r f a c e

(b )
(a )
Figure 3 (a) Intermolecular farces within a liquid. (b) Formation of free surfaces.

The effect of this surface phenomenon, in the case of a curved free surface (such as that of a
drop of water) is in some respects similar to that of a membrane or skin covering the surface: the
membrane sustaining a tensile force of N/m acting across any line on the surface.
To determine the excess of pressure within a spherical drop of liquid over that outside the
surface, consider a small portion of a sphere of liquid (Fig. 4).

a s in

a s in



Figure 4. Excess pressure on the concave side of liquid surface due to surface tension.
The "surface tension" force on each edge, of length a, of the surface is a. If the central angle
is small, the sum of the vertically downward components of the tensile forces on the 4 edges is

Fluid Properties
balanced by the vertically upward reactive force due to the excess internal pressure, p.
Therefore, 4a sin /2 =pa2.
Since sin /2 /2 a/2r where r is the drop radius, it follows that, as approaches zero, we
can write:
4 a 2
pa 2 =
In the case of a hollow drop, that is, a bubble, there are both inner and outer surfaces, so that the
tension in the film is twice that of a single surface and the excess internal pressure is 4/r.
For a non-spherical curvature, with radii of curvature r1, and r2 in two planes at right angles,
1 1

r1 r2

a particular case being a cylindrical surface, as of a jet, for which r2 is infinite.

For water at 20C, is 0.073 N/m or 73 mN/m and it decreases to 59 mN/m at 100C.
At a junction of a solid, a liquid and a gas, such as where a free surface of liquid meets a solid
boundary, the angle of contact of the liquid-gas surface with the solid surface depends on the
relative magnitudes of the adhesion of the liquid molecules to the solid molecules and the
cohesion of the liquid molecules to each other. If the adhesion exceed the cohesion, the solid
surface is said to be completely wetted and the contact angle is as shown in Figure 5a. This is
the case with water and a clean glass surface.
N /m
G as

G as


L iq u id

L iq u id

N /m

(b )
(a )
Figure 5. Wetting and non-wetting of solid surfaces
If the cohesion greatly exceeds the adhesion, there is negligible wetting and the contact angle is
as shown in Fig. 6(b). Mercury and clean glass form such a contact, the angle being
approximately 135.
Adhesion and surface tension result in the phenomenon of capillary rise of liquids in narrow
conduits such as tubes and passages in porous materials. Assuming complete wetting and the
formation of a hemispherical meniscus of radius r, in a narrow tube of radius r open to the

Fluid Properties
atmosphere (Fig. 6), the excess pressure due to surface tension on the concave side of the
meniscus over the pressure, p, on the liquid side is:
p= p atm p abs =
p abs = p atm

O p e n -e n d e d
tu b e , d ia = 2 r


a tm



N /m

h ( m e a n h e ig h t)

Fig. 6 Capillary rise.




At the tube wall, the total surface tension force, acting vertically upward, that is, 2r, supports
the weight of the liquid in the tube
2 r =r 2 h



where h is the capillary rise. This relationship is applicable in the case of distilled waters in
clean glass tubes up to 5 mm in diameter. For larger tubes, the surface is no longer
hemispherical and the formula overstates the rise, which is about 1 mm in a 14 mm diameter
The escape of liquid molecules from a free surface, (that is, evaporation), occurs at all
temperatures above freezing point. The escaped molecules form a vapour and exert a pressure
which depends upon the temperature and increases with it. The vapour pressure of water at
100C is 101.3 kPa, that is, it equals atmospheric pressure, and boiling occurs with the water
rapidly changing to vapour. Boiling results when the vapour pressure equals the pressure above
the liquid surface, so that; if, for example, the air pressure above a water surface is decreased to
2 kPa, which is the vapour pressure of water at 18C, the water will boil at 18C.
As we shall see later in this course, under certain conditions of high velocity flow of liquids, the
liquid pressure in a local region may fall until it equals the vapour pressure corresponding to the
liquid temperature. If this happens, the liquid in the region boils and it flashes into vapour. This
phenomenon is called cavitation and it is to be avoided in design, because of the loss of
hydraulic efficiency and the damage that it may cause. The vapour-filled cavities are swept
downstream into regions of high pressure, where they collapse or implode producing
instantaneous, pin-point pressures of extremely high intensity. Such high pressures occurring at
the surfaces of conduits or machinery parts cause severe pitting and erosion.
At Karels T-bar, mean atmospheric pressure falls to about 80kPa, and your kettle will boil at
only 93.