Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fluid Mechanics

Dimensional Analysis
In engineering the application of fluid mechanics in designs make much of the use of empirical results from a lot of experiments. This data is often difficult to present in a readable form. Even from graphs it may be difficult to interpret. Dimensional analysis provides a strategy for choosing relevant data and how it should be presented.
This is a useful technique in all experimentally based areas of engineering. If it is possible to identify the factors involved in a physical situation, dimensional analysis can form a relationship between them. The resulting expressions may not at first sight appear rigorous but these qualitative results converted to quantitative forms can be used to obtain any unknown factors from experimental analysis.

Dimensions and units
Any physical situation can be described by certain familiar properties e.g. length, velocity, area, volume, acceleration etc. These are all known as dimensions. Of course dimensions are of no use without a magnitude being attached. We must know more than that something has a length. It must also have a standardised unit - such as a meter, a foot, a yard etc.Dimensions are properties which can be measured. Units are the standard elements we use to quantify these dimensions.
In dimensional analysis we are only concerned with the nature of the dimension i.e. its quality not its quantity. The following common abbreviation are used:

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