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Chapter 3: Basic of Fluid Flow
3.1 Uniform Flow, Steady Flow
3.1.1 Laminar, Turbulent Flow
3.1.2 Relative Motion
3.1.3 Compressible or Incompressible
3.1.4 One, Two or Three-dimensional Flow
3.1.5 Streamlines
3.1.6 Streamtubes
3.2.1 Mass Flow Rate
3.2.2 Volume Flow Rate
3.3 The Fundamental Equations of Fluid Dynamics
3.3.1 Continuity (Principle of Conservation of Mass)
3.3.2 Work and Energy (Principle of Conservation of Energy)
 Discusses the analysis of fluid in motion: fluid dynamics.
 When a fluid flows through pipes and channel or around bodies such as
aircraft and ships, the shape of the boundaries, the externally applied
forces and the fluid properties cause the velocities of the fluid
particles to vary from point to point throughout the flow field.
 The motion of fluids can be predicted using the fundamental laws of
physics together with the physical properties of the fluid.
 The geometry of the motion of fluid particles in space and time is
known as the kinematics of the fluid motion.
 A fluid motion may be specified by either tracing the motion of a
particle through the field of flow or examining the motion of all
particles as they pass a fixed point in space.
 This course will use the second method where the emphasis is on the
spatial position rather than on the particle, or known as Eulerian
1. comprehend the concepts necessary to analyse fluids in
2. identify differences between steady/unsteady,
uniform/non-uniform and compressible/incompressible
3. construct streamlines and stream tubes.
4. appreciate the Continuity principle through Conservation of
Mass and Control Volumes.
5. derive the Bernoulli (energy) equation.
6. familiarise with the momentum equation for a fluid flow.
3.1 Uniform Flow, Steady Flow
uniform flow: flow velocity is the same magnitude and direction at every
point in the fluid.
non-uniform: If at a given instant, the velocity is not the same at every
point the flow. (In practice, by this definition, every fluid
that flows near a solid boundary will be non-uniform - as the
fluid at the boundary must take the speed of the boundary,
usually zero. However if the size and shape of the of the
cross-section of the stream of fluid is constant the flow is
considered uniform.)
steady: A steady flow is one in which the conditions (velocity,
pressure and cross-section) may differ from point to point
but DO NOT change with time.
unsteady: If at any point in the fluid, the conditions change with time,
the flow is described as unsteady. (In practice there is
always slight variations in velocity and pressure, but if the
average values are constant, the flow is considered steady.)
3.1 Uniform Flow, Steady Flow (cont.)
Steady uniform flow:
 Conditions: do not change with position in the stream or with time.
 Example: the flow of water in a pipe of constant diameter at constant
Steady non-uniform flow:
 Conditions: change from point to point in the stream but do not change with
 Example: flow in a tapering pipe with constant velocity at the inlet-velocity
will change as you move along the length of the pipe toward the exit.
Unsteady uniform flow:
 At a given instant in time the conditions at every point are the same, but will
change with time.
 Example: a pipe of constant diameter connected to a pump pumping at a
constant rate which is then switched off.
Unsteady non-uniform flow:
 Every condition of the flow may change from point to point and with time at
every point.
 Example: waves in a channel.
3.1.1 Laminar and Turbulent Flow
Laminar flow
 all the particles proceed along smooth parallel paths
and all particles on any path will follow it without
 Hence all particles have a velocity only in the
direction of flow.


Figure 3.1a: Laminar flow

Turbulent Flow
 the particles move in an irregular manner through the flow field.
 Each particle has superimposed on its mean velocity fluctuating velocity
components both transverse to and in the direction of the net flow.


Figure 3.1b: Turbulent flow

Transition Flow
 exists between laminar and turbulent flow.
 In this region, the flow is very unpredictable and often changeable back
and forth between laminar and turbulent states.
 Modern experimentation has demonstrated that this type of flow may
comprise short ‘burst’ of turbulence embedded in a laminar flow.
3.1.2 Relative Motion


Boat moving Boat stationary

Flow pattern moves along Fluid moving past boat
channel with boat pattern stationary relative to
 changes with time boat
 UNSTEADY  does not change with time

Figure 3.2: Relative motion

3.1.3 Compressible or Incompressible
 All fluids are compressible - even water - their density will
change as pressure changes.
 Under steady conditions, and provided that the changes in
pressure are small, it is usually possible to simplify analysis of
the flow by assuming it is incompressible and has constant
 As you will appreciate, liquids are quite difficult to compress
- so under most steady conditions they are treated as
3.1.4 One, Two or Three-dimensional Flow
 In general, all fluids flow three-dimensionally, with
pressures and velocities and other flow properties
varying in all directions.
 In many cases the greatest changes only occur in two
directions or even only in one.
 In these cases changes in the other direction can be
effectively ignored making analysis much more simple.
 Flow is one dimensional if the flow parameters (such as
velocity, pressure, depth etc.) at a given instant in time only
vary in the direction of flow and not across the cross-section.
The flow may be unsteady, in this case the parameter vary in
time but still not across the cross-section.
 An example of one-dimensional flow is the flow in a pipe.
Note that since flow must be zero at the pipe wall - yet non-
zero in the centre - there is a difference of parameters
across the cross-section.
 Should this be treated as two-dimensional flow? Possibly -
but it is only necessary if very high accuracy is required. A
correction factor is then usually applied.
 Flow is two-dimensional if it can be assumed that the flow
parameters vary in the direction of flow and in one direction at
right angles to this direction.
 Streamlines in two-dimensional flow are curved lines on a
plane and are the same on all parallel planes.
 An example is flow over a weir for which typical streamlines
can be seen in the figure below. Over the majority of the length
of the weir the flow is the same - only at the two ends does it
change slightly. Here correction factors may be applied.
3.1.5 Streamlines
• In analysing fluid flow it is useful to visualise the flow
• This can be done by drawing lines joining points of equal
velocity - velocity contours. These lines are known as

Figure 3.5: A streamline

Close to a solid boundary streamlines are parallel to
that boundary
 At all points the direction of the streamline is the direction
of the fluid velocity: this is how they are defined. Close to
the wall the velocity is parallel to the wall so the streamline
is also parallel to the wall.
 It is also important to recognise that the position of
streamlines can change with time - this is the case in
unsteady flow. In steady flow, the position of streamlines
does not change.
Some things to know about streamlines
 Because the fluid is moving in the same direction as the
streamlines, fluid can not cross a streamline.
 Streamlines can not cross each other. If they were to cross
this would indicate two different velocities at the same
point. This is not physically possible.
 The above point implies that any particles of fluid starting on
one streamline will stay on that same streamline throughout
the fluid.
3.1.6 Streamtubes
 A useful technique in fluid flow analysis is to consider only a
part of the total fluid in isolation from the rest.
 This can be done by imagining a tubular surface formed by
streamlines along which the fluid flows.
 This tubular surface is known as a streamtube.
 In a two-dimensional flow, we have a streamtube which is
flat (in the plane of the paper).
Figure 3.7: (a)
A streamtube

• The "walls" of a streamtube are made of streamlines.

• As we have seen above, fluid cannot flow across a streamline, so
fluid cannot cross a streamtube wall.
• The streamtube can often be viewed as a solid walled pipe.
• A streamtube is not a pipe - it differs in unsteady flow as the walls
will move with time. And it differs because the "wall" is moving
with the fluid.
3.2.1 Mass flow rate

mass of fluid
mass flow rate = m =
time taken to collect the fluid

time =
mass flow rate
3.2.2 Volume flow rate - Discharge

volume of fluid
discharge = Q =

mass of fluid
density x time ( density =
volume )
mass fluid rate m
= = r
3.2.3 Discharge and mean velocity

Figure 3.8:
Discharge in pipe

 If the area of cross section of the pipe at point X is A, and the mean
velocity here is um, during a time t, a cylinder of fluid will pass point X
with a volume A  um  t. The volume per unit time (the discharge) will
thus be :

A  um  t
Q= Aum
or um=
Let um= V  um = V =
Figure 3.9:
A typical
velocity profile
across a pipe

• Note how carefully we have called this the mean velocity. This is because
the velocity in the pipe is not constant across the cross section.
• Crossing the centre line of the pipe, the velocity is zero at the walls,
increasing to a maximum at the centre then decreasing symmetrically to
the other wall.
• This variation across the section is known as the velocity profile or
distribution. A typical one is shown in the figure
• This idea, that mean velocity multiplied by the area gives the discharge,
applies to all situations - not just pipe flow.
Example 3.1
 An empty bucket weighs 2.0 kg. After 7 seconds of collecting
water the bucket weighs 8.0 kg, then:
mass of fluid in bucket
mass flow rate = ṁ = time taken to collect the fluid

8.0 -2.0
= = 0.857 kg/s (kg s-1)
Example 3.2
 If we know the mass flow is 1.7 kg/s, how long will it take to
fill a container with 8 kg of fluid?
time =
mass flow rate

= = 4.7s
Example 3.3
 If the density of the fluid in the above example is 850 kg/m3
what is the volume per unit time (the discharge)?
mass fluid rate m
Q = density
= r

= 0.857
= 0.00108 m3/s (m3s-1)
= 1.008  10-3 m3/s
but 1 litre = 1.0 10-3m3,
so Q = 1.008 l/s
Example 3.4
 If the cross-section area, A, is 1.2 x 10-3 m2 and the discharge,
Q is 24 l/s, what is the mean velocity, of the fluid?

Let mean velocity, um = V

 um = V =
2.4 x 10-3 m3/s
= 1.2 x 10-3

= 2.0 m/s
3.3 The Fundamental Equations of Fluid
1. The law of conservation of matter
 stipulates that matter can be neither created nor
destroyed, though it may be transformed (e.g. by a
chemical process).
 Since this study of the mechanics of fluids excludes
chemical activity from consideration, the law reduces to
the principle of conservation of mass.
2. The law of conservation of energy
 states that energy may be neither created nor destroyed.
 Energy can be transformed from one guise to another (e.g.
potential energy can be transformed into kinetic energy),
but none is actually lost.
 Engineers sometimes loosely refer to ‘energy losses’ due to
friction, but in fact the friction transforms some energy into
heat, so none is really ‘lost’.
3. The law of conservation of momentum
 states that a body in motion cannot gain or lose
momentum unless some external force is applied.
 The classical statement of this law is Newton's Second
Law of Motion, i.e.
force = rate of change of momentum
3.3.1 Continuity (Principle of Conservation of

• Matter cannot be created nor destroyed - (it is simply

changed in to a different form of matter).
• This principle is known as the conservation of mass and we
use it in the analysis of flowing fluids.
• The principle is applied to fixed volumes, known as control
volumes or surfaces


Control surface

Figure 3.10: A control volume

 For any control volume the principle of conservation of mass says
Mass entering = Mass leaving + Increase of mass in the control
per unit time per unit time volume per unit time
For steady flow:
(there is no increase in the mass within the control volume)
 Mass entering per unit time = Mass leaving per unit time

Mass entering per unit

time at end 1 = Mass
leaving per unit time at
end 2

Figure 3.11: A streamtube section

 flow is incompressible, the density of the fluid is constant
throughout the fluid continum. Mass flow, m, entering may
be calculated by taking the product
(density of fluid, r)  (volume of fluid entering per second Q)
 Mass flow is therefore represented by the product rQ, hence
r Q (entering) = r Q (leaving)
 But since flow is incompressible, the density is constant, so
Q (entering) = Q (leaving) (3.5a)
 This is the ‘continuity equation’ for steady incompressible
 If the velocity of flow across the entry to the control
volume is measured, and that the velocity is constant at
V1 m/s. Then, if the cross-sectional area of the streamtube
at entry is A1,
Q (entering) = V1 A1
 Thus, if the velocity of flow leaving the volume is V2 and
the area of the streamtube at exit is A2, then
Q (leaving) = V2A2
 Therefore, the continuity equation may also be written as
V1A1 = V2A2 (3.5b)
Application of Continuity Equation
 We can apply the principle of continuity to pipes with cross sections which
change along their length.
 A liquid is flowing from left to right and the pipe is narrowing in the same
direction. By the continuity principle, the mass flow rate must be the
same at each section - the mass going into the pipe is equal to the mass
going out of the pipe. So we can write:
r1 A1V1= r2 A2V2
 As we are considering a liquid, usually
water, which is not very compressible,
the density changes very little so we can
say r1 =r2 =r. This also says that the
volume flow rate is constant or that
 Discharge at section 1 = Discharge at
section 2
Figure 3.12:
Q1 = Q2 Pipe with a contraction
A1V1 = A2V2 or V2 =
 As the area of the circular pipe is a function of the
diameter we can reduce the calculation further,

A1 pd12/4 d12
V2 = V1= V1= V1
A2 pd2 /4
2 d22

( )
V2 = V1 (3.6)
Another example is a diffuser, a pipe which expands or
diverges as in the figure below
The continuity principle can also be used to determine the
velocities in pipes coming from a junction.

Total mass flow into the junction = Total mass flow out of the
r1Q1 = r2Q2 + r3Q3
When the flow is incompressible (e.g. water) r1 = r2 = r
Q1 = Q2 + Q3
A1V1 = A2V2 + A3V3 (3.7)
Example 3.5
 If the area in Figure 3.12 A1 = 10  10-3 m2 and A1 = 10  10-3
m2 and and the upstream mean velocity, V1 = 2.1 m/s, what
is the downstream mean velocity?

A1V1 10 x 10-3 x 2.1

V2 = =
A2 3 x 10-3

= 7.0 m/s
Example 3.6
 If the diameter of a diffuser (Figure 3.13) at section 1 is d1 =
30 mm and at section 2 d2 = 40 mm and the mean velocity at
section 2 is V2 = 3.0 m/s. Calculate the velocity entering the

( )
V2 = 3.0 = 5.3m/s
Example 3.7
 For a junction (Figure 3.14), if pipe 1 diameter = 50 mm,
mean velocity 2 m/s, pipe 2 diameter 40 mm takes 30% of
total discharge and pipe 3 diameter 60 mm. What are the
values of discharge and mean velocity in each pipe?

Q1 = A1V1 = = 0.00392 m3/s

But Q2 = 0.3Q1 = 0.001178 m3/s
Also Q1 = Q2 + Q 3
Q3 = Q1 – 0.3Q1 = 0.7Q1 = 0.00275 m3/s
V2 = Q2 / V2 = 0.936 m/s
V3 = Q3 / V3 = 0.972 m/s
3.3.2 Work and Energy
(Principle Of Conservation Of Energy)

 friction: negligible
 sum of kinetic energy and gravitational potential
energy is constant. Recall :
 Kinetic energy = ½ mV2
 Gravitational potential energy = mgh
(m: mass, V: velocity, h: height above the datum).
To apply this to a falling body we have an initial velocity of
zero, and it falls through a height of h.
 Initial kinetic energy = 0
 Initial potential energy = mgh
 Final kinetic energy = ½ mV2
 Final potential energy = 0
We know that,
 kinetic energy + potential energy = constant

Initial Initial Final Final

{ kinetic
} +{ potential
} ={ Kinetic
} +{ Potential
mgh = ½ mV2 or V  2 gh
continuous jet of liquid
Figure 3.15 :
The trajectory of
a jet of water

 a continuous jet of water coming from a pipe with velocity V1.

 One particle of the liquid with mass m travels with the jet and falls from
height z1 to z2.
 The velocity also changes from V1 to V2. The jet is traveling in air where
the pressure is everywhere atmospheric so there is no force due to pressure
acting on the fluid.
 The only force which is acting is that due to gravity. The sum of the kinetic
and potential energies remains constant (as we neglect energy losses due
to friction) so :
mgz1 + mV12 = mgz2 + mV22
 As m is constant this becomes :
V12 + gz1 = V22 + gz2
Flow from a reservoir
• The level of the water in the reservoir is z1.
Considering the energy situation - there is no
movement of water so kinetic energy is zero but
the gravitational potential energy is mgz1.
• If a pipe is attached at the bottom water flows
along this pipe out of the tank to a level z2. A
mass m has flowed from the top of the reservoir
to the nozzle and it has gained a velocity V2. The
kinetic energy is now ½mV22 and the potential
Figure 3.16 : energy mgz2. Summarising :
Flow from a reservoir
 Initial kinetic energy = 0
 Initial potential energy = mgz1
 Final kinetic energy = ½ mV22
 Final potential energy = mgz2
mgz1 = ½ mV22 + mgz2
mg ( z1 - z2 ) = ½ mV22
 V2 = 2g ( z1  z2 ) (3.8)
Example 3.8
A reservoir of water has the surface at 310 m above the outlet nozzle of a pipe with
diameter 15mm. What is the
 velocity;
 the discharge out of the nozzle; and
 mass flow rate. (Neglect all friction in the nozzle and the pipe)
a) V2  2g ( z1  z 2 )
 2  g  310
 78.0 m / s
b) Volume flow rate is equal to the area of the nozzle multiplied by the velocity
Q = AV
=  d2 
 p  V 
 4 
 0.0152 
=  p    78.0
 4 

= 0.01378 m3/s
c) The density of water is 1000 kg/m3 so the mass flow rate is
ṁ = density  volume flow rate
= 1000  0.01378
= 13.78 kg/s
Bernoulli's Equation
2 2
p1 V1 p 2 V2
  z1    z2
rg 2 g rg 2 g
We see that from applying equal pressure or zero velocities we get
the two equations from the section above. They are both just special
cases of Bernoulli's equation.
Bernoulli's equation has some restrictions in its applicability, they
 Flow is steady;
 Density is constant (which also means the fluid is incompressible);
 Friction losses are negligible.
 The equation relates the states at two points along a single streamline,
(not conditions on two different streamlines).
Figure 3.19 :
A contracting
expanding pipe

• A fluid of constant density = 960 kg/m3 is flowing steadily through

the above tube. The diameters at the sections are d1 = 100mm and
d2 = 80mm. The gauge pressure at 1 is P1 = 200 kN/m2 and the
velocity here is V1 = 5m/s. What is the gauge pressure at section 2.
• Bernoulli equation is applied along a streamline joining section 1
with section 2.
• The tube is horizontal, with z1 = z2 so Bernoulli gives us the
following equation for pressure at section 2:
P2 = P1 + (V12 – V22)
 But we do not know the value of V2. We can calculate this from the
continuity equation: Discharge into the tube is equal to the discharge out
i.e. AV  A V
1 1 2 2

V2 
d 
V2   1  V1
 d2 
 0.1 
  5
 0. 08 
= 7.8125 m/s

So we can now calculate the pressure at section 2

P 2 = P 1+ (V12 – V22) = 200000 + 960 (52 – 7.81252)
2 2
p2 = 200000 -17296.87
= 182703 N/m2
= 182.7 kN/m2
Modifications of Bernoulli Equation
• In practice, the total energy of a streamline does not remain constant.
Energy is ‘lost’ through friction, and external energy may be either :
 added by means of a pump or
 extracted by a turbine.
• Consider a streamline between two points 1 and 2. If the energy head lost
through friction is denoted by Hf and the external energy head added (say
by a pump) is or extracted (by a turbine) HE, then Bernoulli's equation may
be rewritten as :

H1± HE = H2 + Hf (3.11)

2 2
p1 V1 p V
  z1  H E  2  2  z2  H f (3.12)
rg 2 g rg 2 g
HE = energy head added/loss due to external source such as pump/turbines
This equation is really a restatement of the First Law of Thermodynamics for an incompressible
The Power Equation
In the case of work done over a fluid the power input into the
flow is :
P = rgQHE (3.13)
where Q = discharge,
HE = head added / loss
If p = efficiency of the pump, the power input required,

rgQH E
Pin = (3.14)
This chapter has outlined and discussed on the fundamental of fluid
in motion. Students are aspect to be able to discuss and visualise on
the following aspect:
 Able to classify FOUR (4) types of flow- Steady uniform flow, Steady
non-uniform flow, Unsteady uniform flow and Unsteady non-uniform
 The differences between Laminar Flow, Turbulent Flow and
also Transition Flow
 The idea of using the streamline to visualise the flow pattern
 The calculation of mass flow rate, volume flow rate and the
mean velocity of the flow
 Able to explain and apply the THREE (3) laws- conservation of
matter (conservation of mass); conservation of energy and
conservation of momentum
The important of Bernoulli Equation and the derivation