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Science-Based Fluid Mechanics Recomendation

  1. Oct 20, 2014 #1
    Lately I have found an interest in fluid mechanics and found Landau's Fluid Mechanics text. Despite know it wasn't introductory, I decided to give it a try before deciding I need something before it. Is there a science-like (as in not engineering) fluid mechanics textbooks that would help prepare me for it. If not would (undergraduate) classical electrodynamics be a good alternative for preparation? (Yes the material doesn't overlap except some of the math used, but it would probably still prepare me). Or would a vector and/or tensor analysis text provide the needed preperation? (Or going through vector and tensor chapters of Boas).

    Just a little about my background. I'm currently a Senior in high school. Out of related classes, I've taken Calculus 1-3, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. As for the science side, I've taken AP Physics C (both parts), Physical Chemistry 1 (Classical Thermodynamics), Physical Chemistry 2 (currently taking, covers Quantum Chem, Kinetics, etc), Contemporary Physics (currently taking, bored in it due to shallowness of coverage), and chemistry-oriented, graduate level Statistical Mechanics (currently taking, using McQuarrie).
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  3. Oct 20, 2014 #2
    Undergrad E&M would give you a leg up on the math needed for fluids but something more focused on tensors and vectors would be better preparation. I have a book called Vectors, Tensors and the Basic Equations of Fluid Mechanics by Aris but I actually haven't read it in deph so I can't tell you how good it really is. I took a course using Bittencourt's plasma physics textbook and that one has a nice fairly mathematically rigorous introduction to the magneto-hydrodynamic equations, deriving them from physical principles.
  4. Oct 20, 2014 #3
    From the reviews, it seemed like Vectors, Tensors, and the Basic Equations of Fluid Mechanics was something intended for people with some background in fluid mechanics to illuminate the technicallities of it. Also, it's terseness and difficulty was mentioned. I don't mind difficulty, but terseness can sometimes be hard if one has no other source. Despite this, I'll probably end up getting it considering the cost. If you come across anything else that looks good, let me know. Thank you!
  5. Oct 21, 2014 #4


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    You might take a look at Kundu and Cohen, Fluid Mechanics. It should be accessible given your background.
  6. Oct 21, 2014 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    [QUOTE="megatyler30, post: 4887701, member: 497681"<snip> Is there a science-like (as in not engineering) fluid mechanics textbooks that would help prepare me for it. <snip>[/QUOTE]

    I think I understand what you are looking for, but I suspect you are not looking in the right places. First, E&M should not be considered preparatory at all- in spite of whatever surface similarities there may appear. Proper preparation is the study of continuum mechanics. Also, since fluid mechanics is not typically part of the Physics curriculum, all the good textbooks are written by engineers- at least, I have yet to find a good one written from a "Physics" perspective. Even biologists do a better job.

    By far, the best book I can recommend is Pozrikidis: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction...TF8&qid=1413906202&sr=8-1&keywords=pozrikidis. Nothing else comes close.

    Aris's book should be thought of as a handbook- a reference for looking up a formula that you already know how to use. In that capacity, it is quite good.

    Other books I (lukewarmly) recommend are Segel: https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-...id=1413906337&sr=8-1&keywords=segel+continuum (the Dover version is much cheaper),Tritton: https://www.amazon.com/Physical-Dyn...&qid=1413906379&sr=8-1&keywords=Tritton+fluid and Happel&Brenner: https://www.amazon.com/Low-Reynolds...&sr=8-1&keywords=Happel+Brenner+hydrodynamics. Segel's book is a bit dated and Tritton's is a little 'breezy' for my taste. Happel&Brenner's book is restricted in scope but otherwise thorough. Brenner has several fluid transport books out there that cover other aspects, his books are quite readable.

    Two other (Dover) books deserve mention: Lamb: https://www.amazon.com/Hydrodynamic...1413906573&sr=8-1&keywords=lamb+hydrodynamics and Chandresekhar: https://www.amazon.com/Hydrodynamic...=8-1-spell&keywords=chandresekhar+hydrodynaic. These books are *very* difficult to work through, are unmatched in their content, and well worth the effort.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  7. Oct 21, 2014 #6


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    Our knowledge of fluid mechanics from the theoretical standpoint has been limited because finding mathematical solutions to even simple fluid equations is difficult, if not impossible. As a consequence, practical fluid mechanics has heretofore required the extensive use of physical models and the development of empirical relationships derived from the analysis of the results of model tests.

    In order to determine the behavior of ships and aircraft, for example, it has been more effective to build a model and test it than to try to solve the equations of FM, because so many simplifications must be made to obtain purely numerical solutions, and because phenomena like turbulence are still rather poorly understood from a theoretical standpoint. One day, model testing might be rendered obsolete, but that day has not yet arrived.
  8. Oct 21, 2014 #7
    By engineering, I was refering mostly to introductory undergraduate engineering fluid mechanics and CFD focused books. The reason I mentioned E&M was my vector calculus skills are lacking due to my subpar Calculus 3 course (else I'd try to continue with Landau). So I figured E&M would be a good place to relearn and learn to apply vector calculus.

    I will take a look at all the books mentioned, thank you for the suggestions.

    @SteamKing I know it's limited, but I'm not (currently) interested in practical applications anyways.

    Edit: By the way, I found a set of lecture notes which looks good.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  9. Oct 21, 2014 #8


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    A nice looking set of lecture notes (really more of a free textbook) can be found at Prof. Fitzpatrick's site at UT Austin:


    Hopefully you have access to a university library to browse books - it is hard to know what will work for you without looking at them yourself.

    Best of luck,

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