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Fluid Mechanics introductory book

  1. Feb 14, 2012 #1
    I'm in first-year physics classes and we just wrapped up our solitary chapter on fluid mechanics, which covered the very basics (pressure, Archimedes' Principle, and Bernoulli's equation). I find this more interesting that the classical mechanics we've been doing up till now, so I was wondering what a good introductory book would be. Note that I'm looking at this from a Physics perspective, as opposed to what an engineer might be looking for. Also, cheap would be nice. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2012 #2
    I don't know about books, but there is a DVD by G.Homsy et al which is really great and explains a lot of the fluid mechanics from a physics viewpoint. I used it when studying my Fluid Mechanics course and it was excellent.
  4. Feb 22, 2012 #3
    It depends on your math skills - you say you're a first year Physics student, so chances are you don't know enough math . If you don't have the proper mathematical background (such as vector calculus) most books will look impenetrable.
  5. Feb 25, 2012 #4
    I've taken vector calculus. If that's all that's needed, I shouldn't have a problem. But I don't need to be an expert, I'm just looking for something more in-depth than the single chapter on Archimedes' and Bernoulli's Principle in my freshman intro book.
  6. Feb 27, 2012 #5
    I am doing my final year research proposal on fluid mechanics. I have submit my proposal to my supervisor then he had reply me with some comment but i do not understand what he really want . Here are what he ask:

    1. All dimensional quantities should be shown , at least for a realistic.

    2 non dimensional parameters should be shown, at least for a realistic.
    (example of parameter Pr number ,porosity number, Hartman, Schmidt no ... )

    please help me on this , i have shown him all the parameter and dimensional quantities like velocity ,stress and ... but he said this is not he want . I really do not have idea what he want pls help .
    Thank Thank Thank a lot .
  7. Feb 27, 2012 #6
    I'm a first year graduate student, and last semester was my first exposure to real fluid mechanics (i.e., beyond the basics of pressure, volume, temperature that you study in thermodynamics with regards to equilibrium ideal gasses). Basically this was a treatment of the Navier-Stokes equation (both viscous and inviscid) and the Boussinesq approximation. The class was first year graduate Mechanics, and it was taught out of Fetter and Walecka's Theoretical Mechanics of Particles and Continua. I would NOT recommend this book if you want to teach yourself--it's super tough to read and the problems are very challenging.

    Before getting to fluid mechanics in class, though, we had to pick a topic for a final project. The topic I (stupidly) picked was deriving and simulating the equations of two-dimensional fluid flow in a plane subject to a coriolis force--i.e. the "beta plane approximation" you find in meteorology. So my research would be classified as "Geophysical fluid dynamics."

    I was pretty much completely ignorant to fluid mechanics going into this, and we only really spent the last two weeks of class on fluid dynamics, so I was basically forced to learn as much fluid dynamics as quickly as I could to do this project (I had about a month). After struggling too much with Fetter and Walecka, I opened up the absolute best introduction I've seen to fluid mechanics:

    Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 2, Chapters 40 and 41, respectively called "The Flow of Dry Water" and "The Flow of Wet Water" (referring to inviscid and viscous fluids.)

    Strongly recommended as an introduction for anyone interested in any kind of fluid mechanics.

    My research was on geophysical fluid dynamics, so I didn't look through all the fluid dynamics textbooks out there, but the only other book that I found readable and useful for learning was Benoit Roisin's relatively new book
    Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Physical and Numerical Aspects.

    I found that nearly all the other fluid dynamics textbooks were just too stuffy and intended more as reference books rather than learning/teaching books. The treatments of fluid dynamics you find in most mechanics books are also usually extremely terse and not very good for learning. For example, Fetter and Walecka's treatment is very theoretical and basically saturates the lower bound on the amount of intuitive explanation needed to connect all the equations. Another example is Pedlosky's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, which seems intended as a reference book for meteorologists rather than physicists, since he tries his hardest express all the equations in latitude-longitude-altitude coordinates even in things like plane approximations.

    Then again, all of these might be too advanced for you. Fluid mechanics is an intrinsically difficult subject and the best way to be introduced to it is by first understanding the mechanics of particles really well, especially nonlinear mechanics, then studying all the continuum-limits including strings and membranes, and only THEN going into fluids.
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