Fluid dynamics (2010/2011)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Simone Zuccher
Simone Zuccher
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Mar 1, 2011 al Jun 15, 2011.

Lesson timetable

II semestre
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall I from Apr 18, 2011  to Jun 15, 2011
Monday 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall M from Apr 6, 2011  to Apr 11, 2011
Wednesday 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall M from Mar 23, 2011  to Jun 15, 2011

Learning outcomes

Derivation of the fluid-dynamic equations from conservation laws in Physics; Discussion on the rheological structure of fluids and the model for Newtonian fluids; Different flows and simplifications of the governing equations; Bernoulli theorem in all forms and for all cases; Some exact solutions; Vorticity dynamics; Laminar boundary layer; Stability and transition; Turbulence; hyperbolic equations in fluid dynamics.


1. Introduction to fluids: definitions, continuous hypothesis and properties of fluids; differences between fluid, flux, flow; some kinematics (stream-lines, trajectories, streak-lines), forces and stresses (Cauchy Theorem and symmetry of the stress tensor), the constitutive relation for Newtonian fluids (viscous stress tensor).

2. Governing equations: Eulerian vs Lagrangian approach; control volume and material volume, conservation of mass in a fixed volume, time derivative of the integral over a variable domain, Reynolds Theorem (scalar and vectorial forms), conservation of mass in a material volume, from conservation laws to the Navier-Stokes equations, the complete Navier-Stokes equations (in conservative, tensorial form), substantial derivative, conservative vs convective form of the equations, alternative forms of the energy equation, dimensionless equations, initial and boundary conditions.

3. Particular cases of the governing equations: time dependence, effect of viscosity, thermal conduction, entropy, compressibility, barotropic flows, incompressible flows, ideal flows, Euler equations irrotational flows, barotropic and non-viscous flows: Crocco's form, Bernoulli theorem in all cases and forms.

4. Some exact solutions: incompressible and parallel flows, infinite channel flow, Couette and Poiseuille flows, flow in a circular pipe, Hagen-Poiseuille solution.

5. Vorticity dynamics: preliminary definitions, vorticity equation in the general case, special cases (constant density, non-viscous flow with conservative external field), Kelvin's theorem, Helmholtz's theorems and their geometrical meaning.

6. Laminar boundary layer: Prandtl theory, boundary layer past a flat plate, derivation of Blasius' equation (similar solutions), boundary-layer thickness, drag due to skin-friction, characteristics of a boundary layer (displacement thickness, momentum thickness, shape factor), integral von Kàrmàn equation, numerical solution of the 2D steady equations for the boundary layer past a flat plate:
(a) parabolic PDE + BC (Prandtl's equations): marching in space
(b) ODE + BC (Blasius' equation): nonlinear boundary value problem
(c) comparison between the two methods.

7. Stability and transition: flow in a pipe - Reynolds' experiment, transition in a laminar boundary layer, linear stability for parallel flows (Orr-Sommerfeld equation),
Squire's theorem, non-viscous stability (Rayleigh's criteria), viscous stability, linear stability curves, stability of non-parallel flows (Blasius' boundary layer using multiple scales).

8. Turbulence: phenomenological characteristics, turbulent scales, energy cascade, Kolmogorov's theory, DNS (Direct numerical simulation), RANS (Reynolds-Averaged-Navier-Stokes equations), the problem of closure for the RANS, closure models, Boussinesq hypothesis for the tutbulent viscosity (models of order 0, 1 and 2), LES (Large Eddy Simulation).

9. Hyperbolic differential equations in fluid dynamics: main characteristics and comparison with parabolic and elliptic equations, conservation laws, transport equation, characteristic lines, Riemann problem, Burgers' equation, weak solutions, shock waves, rarefaction waves, comparison between conservative and non-conservative numerical methods, method of characteristics, usage of an applet for the visualization of shock and rarefaction waves, hyperbolic linear and non-linear systems, genuine nonlinearity, linear degeneration, contact discontinuity, solution of the Riemann for the Euler equations.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exams is divided into a written part followed by an oral one. During the oral part the students have to provide the solution to the exercises assigned during the course and to be able to discuss about them, because they contribute to the final grade together with the written and oral parts.