# Does Bernoulli’s principle depend on the observer?

• hamilton333
In summary, the Bernoulli principle is about how a change in speed affects the pressure inside a pipe. The principle doesn't apply if work is being done on the mass of air, but it does apply if no work is being done.
hamilton333
Hello. I’ve found in the forum this thread that had the same question I’d thought.
But there were too much things involved in it. I would like to know if Bernoulli’s principle effects change if the Observer velocity changes. For instance, everyone knows that a ping pong ball floats pushed by air stream. Besides, we know that inside this air “tube”, the air velocity is bigger than the air around it. So, the pressure in the tube is smaller. In this way, if we try to push the ball to one side, it comes back pushed to the middle of the tube by the larger external pressure.
My question is: If something is moving inside the ascending tube air to the same velocity that stream (for instance, a fly) it will notice inside the tube a relative air velocity zero. However, outside the tube, it will notice a stream that moves fast in the opposite direction (-V). Will it detect a smaller pressure outside the tube? So, will it be pushed outside the tube?
Regards from Spain!

Bernoulli principle is not about absolute speeds between air and some object, but instead change in speed of the air and how that change occurred. The classic example for Bernoulli is flow in a pipe where no work is done (so the pipe is frictionless, and the fluid has no viscosity). The mass flow through any cross section of the pipe is constant or else mass would be accumulating. If a section of the pipe narrows, then the velocity of the fluid increases by the inverse of the decrease in cross sectional area (ignoring compression). Since the pipe does no work then the only remaining explanation for the increase in speed is a pressure differential from higher to lower to speed up the flow and vice versa.

The key here is a change in speed and how that change occurred (was work involved). The exhaust from a powered turbine is high speed and high pressure because work is done. After exiting the the turbine, then Bernoulli principle applies (no work is being done), and the jet wash continues to accelerate as it's pressure decreases until the jet wash pressure returns back to the ambient pressure of the surrounding air.

You can also think of Bernoulli as conservation of energy. The total energy of a mass of air is the sum of the pressure, kinetic energy, gravitational potential energy, and temperature. Bernoulii problems typically ignore the temperature aspect. If no work is done on that mass of air, then total energy remains constant, so an increase in kinetic energy coexists with a decrease in pressure, or vice versa. If work is done, then the total energy of that mass of air is changed, so Bernoulli principle doesn't apply during the time work is being performed.

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I am curious about the experiences of the fly in the airstream. Consider a fruit fly in a long, horizontally oriented clear glass tube. The glass tube has a reduction of its inside diameter for some portion of its length. An air compressor supplies pressure and the drosophilia is carried along with the air down the tube.

When it gets to the portion of the tube with a reduced diameter I think it would experience itself as accelerating, and would concomitantly feel a drop in the air pressure of the air surrounding it in the tube.

Now let's provide it with a little radar gun and some sort of pressure detector (ultrasonic?) to check the speed and pressure of the air outside the tube. While traveling in the large section of the tube it takes readings and gets values for the outside air speed and pressure. It repeats the readings after it gets to the constricted portion of the tube. How will they differ from the first set of readings? It seems clear the outside air speed will be greater in the second reading, but what about the outside air pressure?

hamilton333 said:
effects change if the Observer velocity changes. For instance, everyone knows that a ping pong ball floats pushed by air stream. Besides, we know that inside this air “tube”, the air velocity is bigger than the air around it. So, the pressure in the tube is smaller.
A pump or fan causes the pressure of the air coming out of the tube to be higher than ambient. Complicating matters is that the air flows up and around the ball, so dynamic pressure and aerodynamic drag are factors here. The air from the tube continues to accelerate as it's pressure decreases back to ambient. Apparently, the air at the perimeter of the flow slows down faster than the air at the center of the flow, so the air at the perimeter would have higher pressure than the air at the center of the flow.

My question is: If something is moving inside the ascending tube air to the same velocity that stream (for instance, a fly) it will notice inside the tube a relative air velocity zero. However, outside the tube, it will notice a stream that moves fast in the opposite direction (-V). Will it detect a smaller pressure outside the tube?
The pressure isn't related to a relative velocity, but instead a change in the velocity. When no work is done on the air, then pressure differentials coexist with accelerations (or declerations) of air conforming to Bernoulli principle. The pressure outside the tube is ambient, regardless of the frame of reference, as long the observer doesn't interfere with the air by changing it's speed.

Jeff Reid said:
A pump or fan causes the pressure of the air coming out of the tube to be higher than ambient.
It depends on where you are in relation to the air flow. Ambient air directly in the path of flow experiences it as higher pressure. Ambient air at right angles to the direction of air flow experience the flowing air as a lower pressure zone and will be entrained into it.

Jeff Reid said:
A pump or fan causes the pressure of the air coming out of the tube to be higher than ambient.

zoobyshoe said:
Ambient air directly in the path of flow experiences it as higher pressure. Ambient air at right angles to the direction of air flow experience the flowing air as a lower pressure zone and will be entrained into it.
I'm assuming that the static pressure of the air coming out of the tube is sufficiently higher than ambient so that the dynamic pressure effects don't cause the air to the side of the flow is to be drawn inwards, similar to prop wash where the flow aft of the prop expands outwards not inwards.

Jeff Reid said:
I'm assuming that the static pressure of the air coming out of the tube is sufficiently higher than ambient so that the dynamic pressure effects don't cause the air to the side of the flow is to be drawn inwards, similar to prop wash where the flow aft of the prop expands outwards not inwards.
That would seem, intuitively, to be the case but it isn't what actually occurs. Take two sheets of paper and hold them up in front of your face parallel to each other (.75 - 1. inch apart) and blow between them. You will see that, instead of being blown apart, they are sucked together.

You can try the same thing holding them at the angles you think might be represented by the expanding air flow, and the same sucking together occurs.

Despite the fact the air stream coming out of your mouth is expanding it still represents a lower pressure area to the ambient air by virtue of its being in motion relative to that air.

Here's another classic demonstration:

The expanding air coming out of the spool "should" blow the cardboard away. Instead the cardboard clings.

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Then, do you think the fly moving in the air stream wouldn’t be pushed outside the tube, would it?
You tell me as well the pressure doesn’t depend on the frame of reference. So, why don’t we choose a frame of reference that moves to a constant velocity which is the same to the stream’s one? I’m still thinking that in this frame the velocity inside the tube is zero and the air velocity outside –V. Why is the pressure smaller inside the tube if in this frame the air hasn’t got velocity?

Jeff Reid said:
I'm assuming that the static pressure of the air coming out of the tube is sufficiently higher than ambient so that the dynamic pressure effects don't cause the air to the side of the flow is to be drawn inwards, similar to prop wash where the flow aft of the prop expands outwards not inwards.

zoobyshoe said:
That would seem, intuitively, to be the case but it isn't.
Vicosity (fiction of the air) is going to cause the air to mix in with the perimeter of the air stream regardless of the difference in static pressure. I was just pointing out that the stream from the blowdryer is an expanding outwards in a cone shape pattern, where the cross section gets larger with distance from the nozzle.

However the end result is the same, the air at the perimeter of the stream is slower with higher pressure. However it's more complicated than just the air stream, since the shape of the object being suspened is also important. This website offers a good explanation:

http://www.terrycolon.com/1features/ber.html

Despite the fact the air stream coming out of your mouth is expanding it still represents a lower pressure area to the ambient air by virtue of its being in motion relative to that air.
The compression or expansion of air is very tiny at the relatively low pressures and speeds. At the spool hole paper interface, the air diverted outwards through a thin plane. At the center, there is some dynamic pressure effect, but the velocity of the outwards air is increased with little or no work done, so the pressure of the outwards air is reduced, causing the ambient pressure from outside to hold the cardboard in place.

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hamilton333 said:
Then, do you think the fly moving in the air stream wouldn’t be pushed outside the tube, would it?
The fly would get pushed up and out, because of it's shape. You need a near round shape to get an object to hover within the cone of air.

Again a link to a good explanation:
http://www.terrycolon.com/1features/ber.html

You tell me as well the pressure doesn’t depend on the frame of reference.
Except for dynamic pressure where the flow speed is changed via mechanical interaction, which is what happens with a solid in any relative air flow.

So, why don’t we choose a frame of reference that moves to a constant velocity which is the same to the stream’s one? I’m still thinking that in this frame the velocity inside the tube is zero and the air velocity outside –V. Why is the pressure smaller inside the tube if in this frame the air hasn’t got velocity?
Because it's how the air got to that state. The air has a total energy, kinetic energy, gravitational potential energy, pressure, and temperature. Bernoulli describes the situation where no work is done, and approximates the situation where a relatively small amount of work is done, where there is no or little change in total energy. If the velocity of air is changed without significant work being done, then there is an inverse relationship between pressure and speed^2.

For interesting twist on the blow dryer + ping pong ball experiment, hold an empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube just above the hovering ball and it will shoot through the tube going quite high.

I made a video of hovering ping pong ball with a blow dryer. I zoom into show the rate of spin changing as I angle the blow dryer. I then held a cardboard tube over the hovering ball so it would shoot up through the tube.

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Jeff Reid said:
I made a video of hovering ping pong ball with a blow dryer. I zoom into show the rate of spin changing as I angle the blow dryer. I then held a cardboard tube over the hovering ball so it would shoot up through the tube.

"hovering spinning shooting ping pong ball, the latest opus from director/producer Jeff Reid, takes us on a mind-altering journey into a dimension where natural forces seem to be defied; a land of hair dryers and toilet paper rolls, and mysterious, fleetingly glimpsed, button-pushing movers and shakers. It's a fantastic mindscape where gravity seems to lose all meaning, and ordinary objects manifest extraordinary powers. Dialog free, filmed in one continuous shot, and supported by a light, delightful New Age musical score, hovering spinning shooting ping pong ball is both art and entertinment for the whole family. Hailed by the N.Y. Times as "Cirque du Soleil, but with ping pong balls," this remarkable Indie film is a must see for all Reid fans! Two shoes up!"

-Mr. Z. Shoe
Cinema Correspondent
The Zoobie Guide to Human Arts and Entertainment

A great video, Jeff! Quite interesting the toilet paper tube. You say the fly would get pushed out because of its shape. Then, forget the fly. You think you throw a ping pong ball at the same velocity that the air stream. So, I repeat my question: will the ball detect inside the stream a small pressure? In that case, Would the ball be pushed out?

Thanks

hamilton333 said:
Quite interesting the toilet paper tube.
I recall reading about that a while back and didn't see any instance of this at youtube, so I made the video. I don't recall the physics involved. It's my guess that there is significant dynamic pressure below the ball, the tube captures a flow of air without allowing it to expand outwards (just upwards), and because the tube is just barely larger than the ball, it interferes with the air flow that would normally go around and above the ball, increasing the drag.

You say the fly would get pushed out because of its shape.
Or a wad of paper that will just get shot up and out. Spherical like objects are required.

http://www.terrycolon.com/1features/ber.html

So, I repeat my question: will the ball detect inside the stream a small pressure? In that case, would the ball be pushed out?
If you tilt the stream enough the ball falls out, but it can be tilted quite a bit before this happens. It's my opinion that that pressure in the stream is higher than ambient, so that flow accelerates to "exit velocity" as it's pressure returns to ambient, explained in the prop analysis at this link:

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/propanl.html

Regardless of the pressure differences, gravity is always pulling down on the ball, so it could simply be a case of gravity providing more downwards force than the pressure and flow related effects if the flow is angled too much.

Hello, I think I’ve not been understood yet. (Sorry for my English) So, I’ll try it again:
We have a blow dryer vertically. When it’s working, we throw inside the air stream a ping pong ball vertically and up at the same velocity that air stream has. In ping pong ball’s frame of reference the ascending air velocity will be zero or quite small. However, the air surrounding the cone of air where the ball is, it will move with a high velocity in the opposite direction (-V). If is possible to apply Bernoulli’s principle under these conditions, it happens the ball will detect higher air velocity outside (the sides) and also a smaller pressure outside.
And this is exactly the opposite thing that happens when the ball isn’t thrown but is static flowing in the air stream. (In this case, it has the tendency not to go out of the air cone).
Would it be possible the example I’ve explained?
Thanks a lot again.

It depends on the blow dryer (or the device) used to generate the updraft. The static pressure in the updraft could be lower or higher than ambient depending on the blow dryer. Each blow dryer is different. If the nozzle of the blow dryer is tapered so that the exit hole is sufficiently smaller the fan chamber diameter, and viscosity issues are relatively small, then venturi effect is involved, speeding up the air and reducing the pressure, and it would be possible for a blow dryer to output higher speed but lower than ambient static pressure. Most other devices, like a shop vac or room fan would have higher than static pressure.

I did an experiment to test my blow dryer used in the video. I've seen what I consider misleading pictures of a straw in water with the blow dryer air flow perpendicular to the straw at the top of the straw, causing the water to rise, which would indicate that the pressure in the air flow is lower. It's my belief that the end of the straw in the air flow results in turbulence, which intereferes with the result. Just like real aircraft, I decided to fashion my own static port to reduce the turbulence issue.

I took a spool of thread with a hole in it that just fit the straw. I then cut a slightly larger sized hole in a 6 inch piece of thin cardboard and rolled scotch tape to "double stick the cardboard to the spool with the holes aligned, and inserted the straw into the hole of the spool, and then held the straw in a glass of water. I then repeated the blow dryer test with my home made static port. I added some soap to the water to reduce surface tension effects, but still ended up with a hint of capillary like effect rasing the water a tiny amount inside the straw with no wind across my static port. I then turned on the blow dryer and directed the flow so it was parallel to the surface of my static port, perpendicular to the straw. The result was the water in the straw receded downwards a tiny amount. Even without the cardboard, but a sufficiently large spool of thread based static port, the results were about the same. The conclusion here is that the static pressure in the flow from my blow dryer is slightly higher than ambient.

Getting back to your question, it depends. A similar thread was made at the mythbusters forum and some guys were using a shop vac hose and tube to do a similar thing on a much bigger scale. They were in a large building and used the tube from a paper towel which shot the ping pong ball quite high. If the ball were shot vertically enough, the ball would fall back down into the air flow again and return to hover. In this case, the ball had no tendency to be drawn outwards from the flow even though it's vertical speed through the tube was very close to the updraft speed.

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Jeff Reid said:
I took a spool of thread with a hole in it that just fit the straw.

I'm not familiar with a "static port". What is the function?

Also, what is the function of the spool in your experiment?

zoobyshoe said:
I'm not familiar with a "static port". What is the function?
To allow an aircraft to accurately measure the ambient pressure near the aircraft without being affected by the relative wind speed of the aircraft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitot-static_system

What I'm referring to is the static port, not the combo pitot-static tube

Also, what is the function of the spool in your experiment?
I insert the straw into the spool, and tape cardboard onto the spool (with a hole in cardboard, that lines up with the hole in the spool and straw), to create a home made static port.

The water movment is very small with a blow dryer, so a video wouldn't show much except that to show water movement is large (updwards) with a naked straw and very small (downwards in my case) with the home made static port. I'll try out our vacuum cleaner and/or electric leaf blower to see if those work better.

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Jeff Reid said:
If the ball were shot vertically enough, the ball would fall back down into the air flow again and return to hover. In this case, the ball had no tendency to be drawn outwards from the flow even though it's vertical speed through the tube was very close to the updraft speed.

My inquiry is exactly what you're saying. I want to know in this example if theorically the ball must be drawn outwards.

Thanks again

Jeff Reid said:

Thanks for taking the trouble to photograph it and post the shots.

It seems the point is to completely subtract any venturi/bernoulli/coanda effects and simply have access to the outside air pressure in order to know your altitude. Is that what it's about?

zoobyshoe said:
It seems the point is to completely subtract any venturi/bernoulli/coanda effects and simply have access to the outside air pressure in order to know your altitude. Is that what it's about?
Yes. Even though the port is appears to be exposed to a relative cross wind, the ideal is for the port opening to be inside the shear boundary layer at the surface where there is almost no wind. The pressure in the chamber connected to a static port via a tube is almost identical to the actual static pressure of the air outside.

Some actual flush mount static ports (you'd hook up a tube that leads to a chamber).

The holes in these are small, 1/8 inch diameter, and mount into a 1/4 diameter hole or tube. My home made static port hole size is the same as the straw size, about 5/16 inch outer diameter, same as the straw, to allow the straw to be pushed through, but this is good enough for a simple home experiment.

Jeff Reid said:
Yes. Even though the port is appears to be exposed to a relative cross wind, the ideal is for the port opening to be inside the shear boundary layer at the surface where there is almost no wind. The pressure in the chamber connected to a static port via a tube is almost identical to the actual static pressure of the air outside.

OK. That's what I thought. Therefore, I am confused about what point you are trying to make:

Jeff Reid said:
I did an experiment to test my blow dryer used in the video. I've seen what I consider misleading pictures of a straw in water with the blow dryer air flow perpendicular to the straw at the top of the straw, causing the water to rise, which would indicate that the pressure in the air flow is lower. It's my belief that the end of the straw in the air flow results in turbulence, which intereferes with the result. Just like real aircraft, I decided to fashion my own static port to reduce the turbulence issue.

It sounds like you might be trying to say there is no authentic Venturi effect: it's an illusion of low air pressure created somehow by turbulence?

Jeff Reid said:
I did an experiment to test my blow dryer used in the video. I've seen what I consider misleading pictures of a straw in water with the blow dryer air flow perpendicular to the straw at the top of the straw, causing the water to rise, which would indicate that the pressure in the air flow is lower. It's my belief that the end of the straw in the air flow results in turbulence, which intereferes with the result. Just like real aircraft, I decided to fashion my own static port to reduce the turbulence issue. Link to pitcures:

http://jeffareid.net/misc/sp1.jpg
http://jeffareid.net/misc/sp2.jpg

zoobyshoe said:
It sounds like you might be trying to say there is no authentic Venturi effect: it's an illusion of low air pressure created somehow by turbulence?
No, only that Bernoulli effect of "faster moving air" = "lower pressure" isn't demonstrated by placing the end of a vertical tube in the stream. I'm not sure what's going one when water is sucked up from the bottom end of the vertical tube, other than it's interfering with the stream.

By extending the open end of the tube into a horizontal plane it's converted into a static port, the purpose of which is to capture the static pressure into a chamber (in this case the rest of the straw) of a crosswind stream without interfering with that stream, eliminating the issue with the open end straw is that does interfere with the stream.

Venturi effect occurs when a stream flows through a tapered (larger diamter to smaller diameter) cone shape. Depending on the amount of taper in a blow dryer, the output stream's static pressure could be above or below ambient. Link to example of a venturi based "pump" that uses the flow of water from a tap on the top to suck up more water from a tap on the side. The top tap feeds into a narrowing cone which exits into an open chamber with a 2nd tap on the side, and an exit pipe below. If you click on the candian link, you can look at the images of the patent, which shows the internals. The same goes for the USA patent, but you'll need a .tiff viewer browser add-on (which is provided at the USA patent link). I use one of these to start a syphon for an aquarium.

http://andysworld.org.uk/aquablog/?postid=247

Jeff Reid said:
If the ball were shot vertically enough, the ball would fall back down into the air flow again and return to hover. In this case, the ball had no tendency to be drawn outwards from the flow even though it's vertical speed through the tube was very close to the updraft speed.
My inquiry is exactly what you're saying. I want to know in this example if theorically the ball must be drawn outwards.

Thanks again

## 1. What is Bernoulli's principle?

Bernoulli's principle states that as the speed of a fluid increases, its pressure decreases. This principle is often observed in the context of moving air or water, but it can apply to any fluid.

## 2. Does Bernoulli's principle apply to all fluids?

Yes, Bernoulli's principle applies to all fluids, including liquids and gases.

## 3. How does Bernoulli's principle relate to lift in airplanes?

In the context of airplanes, Bernoulli's principle explains how the shape of the wing causes the air to move faster over the top of the wing, creating an area of low pressure. This difference in pressure results in lift, allowing the airplane to fly.

## 4. Does Bernoulli's principle depend on the observer?

Yes, Bernoulli's principle can depend on the observer's frame of reference. For example, if the observer is moving with the fluid, they may not observe a change in pressure. However, from an outside perspective, the pressure difference would still exist.

## 5. Why is Bernoulli's principle important in fluid dynamics?

Bernoulli's principle is important in fluid dynamics because it helps explain and predict how fluids will behave in different situations. It is particularly useful in engineering applications, such as designing airplanes and optimizing fluid flow in pipes and channels.

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