APPH E4200 Physics of Fluids

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the physical behavior of fluids for science and engineering students. Topics will include derivation of basic equations of fluid dynamics: conservation of mass, momentum, and energy; dimensional analysis; vorticity; laminar boundary layers; potential flow; effects of compressibility, stratification, and rotation; waves on a free surface; shallow water equations; and turbulence.

The physics of fluids is a fascinating subject. Everyone has experienced the wonder of fluid phenomena, like ripples in a lake, violence and variability of weather, flight of airplanes, and mixing of cream in coffee. Fluid behavior is both complex and familiar. Because of this, the physics of fluids is one of the best subjects to apply our understanding of mathematics and our basic laws of physics to describe non-trivial phenomena and important applications.

APPH E4200 is an introductory course in fluids. We approach the subject as physicists, as opposed to engineers or mathematicians (though elements of mathematics and engineering enter naturally). Our goal is for students to attain a solid grasp of the fundamentals of the subject.

In the first part of the course we will understand the basic equations and introduce principles that are essential to all aspects of fluid mechanics. Before long we will move on to study specific types of fluid flow.
Faculty/Manager: Michael Mauel
Contact Information: Michael Mauel
Class Homepage:
Credits for Course:3
Viewing Schedule: 2 lectures per week
Prerequisites:The minimum prerequisites for this course are a year of college level physics (including mechanics and basic thermodynamics), and mathematics through multivariable calculus. However, the class will be considerably easier if you have had more physics and mathematics than that. Prior experience with partial differential equations is particularly useful. I will also assume at least a minimal knowledge of complex variables. If you are at all concerned about your level of preparation, come contact me.
Applicable Degree Program:Most courses 4000-level and above can be credited to all degree programs. All courses are subject to advisor approval.
Required Text(s):Kundu and Cohen, Fluid Dynamics, 3rd edition. Academic Press 2004.

Books can be ordered from the bookstore through this link.
Homework:Problem sets will be assigned throughout the term, approximately once per week and a half (i.e. every 3rd lecture). You are welcome to work on them in small groups, as long as you write up your answers yourself and make sure that you understand what you are writing. If you try, you may be able to find old copies of the solutions from previous years. You are not allowed to use these.
Midterm Exam:Yes
Final Exam:Yes
Grading:The grading for the course will be, approximately: either 25% problem sets, 50% final, 25% midterm, or 66% final, 33% midterm, whichever is greater. In other words, doing the problem sets cannot hurt your grade, and is, strictly speaking, optional, though I highly recommend it.

* The information contained in this syllabus is subject to change at any time.

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