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Fluid Mechanics / Flow

  1. Apr 12, 2013 #1
    It appears to me that a typical physics curriculum only touches upon topics from fluid mechanics very briefly in the introductory level physics. However, I imagine that the material there is very interesting and potentially relevant (plasma physics, etc).

    If I wanted to get a deeper appreciation and understanding of these fields, what are the good topics to study? Could you recommend books, etc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2013 #2
    Does your department offer a junior or senior course on the subject? Perhaps under the title astrophysical/geophysical fluid dynamics, or perhaps check the mechanical engineering department.

    The book I was recommended in my course was Landau's, technically the bible of this subject but it's pretty tough and requires a lot of time to understand, so I relied on my notes(basically a brief summary of the first 4-5 chapters and a few other things) mostly. There are more accessible books out there but I never relied on them much.

    Try googling for course lecture notes on google, some are a pretty decent intro.
  4. Apr 12, 2013 #3
    I go to SLAC, so we only have Physics major, no engineering. Incidentally, I do have the Landau's books. Judging by my exposure to his Mechanics and QM, I probably do not want to make it the first book to learn from.
  5. Apr 12, 2013 #4


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    One of the long time introductory college texts for the subject was V.L. Streeter's 'Fluid Mechanics'. It has gone through at least nine editions. IMO, FM is not a subject where I would recommend that one jump into an advanced text without taking a dip in the shallow end of the pool first. The study of FM requires a thorough background in the calculus.
  6. Apr 13, 2013 #5
    I suggest Acheson's "Fluid Dynamics". Our senior level intro fluids course for physicists uses it. It's very insightful. The course is taught by a prof. who studies astrophysical plasmas, so I assume the book would give you the beginnings of the fluid foundation you need to study plasma physics.
  7. Apr 13, 2013 #6


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    SLAC = Stanford? If so, Stanford has Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering programs. One could take a course in fluid mechanics in MechEng or gas dynamics in MechEng or AeroEng.

    And Stanford has a gas dynamics lab.
    http://navier.stanford.edu/thermosciences/htgl.html [Broken]

    Most large metropolitan areas have universities with engineering programs.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Apr 13, 2013 #7
    Ha! I wish :cool: SLAC="Small Liberal Arts College"
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  9. Apr 13, 2013 #8


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    Is there an engineering school nearby?

    Otherwise, one would need a faculty member who would teach fluid mechanics.

    I presume the SLAC offers a BA in physics.
  10. Apr 13, 2013 #9
    Not nearby enough to take a class from.

    Yes, I am doing a BS in Math and Physics. We just dont have such a course on our roster. However, I will be doing an Independent Study in Advanced Classical Mechanics next semester, so I thought about possibly looking at some Fluid Mechanics topics as a part of it.
  11. Apr 14, 2013 #10


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    You might ask the faculty in your department for recommended resources - you may strike up an opportunity for directed study. Especially at a SLAC (nice acronym) the professors may be open to this. While books on your own can be fine, there is nothing like having some guidance! It would also give you another good relationship with a prof. that may come in handy for references for jobs/grad schools.

    One additional book resource: an online book on fluids for undergrad physicists can be found at:
    Might not be what you want, but the price is right. ON the surface it looks reasonable to me. Even has homework problems.

    best regards,

  12. Apr 14, 2013 #11
    Thank you. The book does look interesting.

    I will already be doing an independent study. At this point, I am just looking for some interesting topics to cover since I have a bit of a choice.
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