Instructional Materials in Physics and Astronomy



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From Study Modules for Calculus-Based General Physics
Copyright © 1975 CBP Workshop, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Reproduction rights granted.


An invigorating shower in the morning is usually a pleasant experience except for the pesky shower curtain slapping your legs and allowing water to run on the floor. You would think that the downward stream of water would be enough to keep the curtain back even without water striking the curtain. But not so: fast-moving fluids (water spray causing a downdraft of air) contain a low-pressure region. Thus the pressure outside the shower is greater than the pressure inside - with the result that the curtain is blown in and flops against your legs.

More technical applications of fluid mechanics include airplane flight, streamlining of boats and cars, blood circulation, water towers, and weather forecasting. Even such mundane phenomena as the pressure of your water faucet and "curves" thrown by pitchers in baseball illustrate the ideas of fluid mechanics.

In this module conservation of energy will be recast into a form that is more suitable for application to fluids. No new fundamental physical laws will be introduced. The concepts of energy, work, and the conservati on of matter will be used to study fluids at rest and in motion (statics and dynamics).

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