What is hydrodynamics? (with photos)

Hydrodynamics can provide information about how water can flow through a dam.

Hydrodynamics is the study of liquids in motion. Specifically, it examines the ways in which different forces affect the movement of liquids. A series of equations explains how the laws of conservation of mass, energy, and momentum apply to liquids, particularly those that are not compressed.

Hydrodynamics is part of a larger field called fluid mechanics, which studies how energy and forces interact with fluids, including gases and liquids. Fluid dynamics is a subset of that science that looks at these same materials when they are in motion. Aerodynamics is an additional subset of fluid dynamics that specifically looks at moving gases, while hydrodynamics specifically looks at moving liquids.

Hydrodynamics is the study of liquids in motion.

Hydrodynamics is widely used in engineering. Some studies focus primarily on flow through pipes and various obstacles. This is very useful information for building structures that try to control or divert the flow of water in a controlled manner. Mathematical equations try to predict the rate of flow of water through a pipe, which is laminar or uninterrupted flow. They also attempt to predict with some level of accuracy patterns of turbulent or disrupted flow, as with an object such as a dam.

Marine hydrodynamics is another important practical application of science. A hydrodynamic model uses formulas found in conservation laws to explain how and why water reacts to the environment and vice versa. Before the computer age, most of these models were small-scale recreations of real-life scenarios. Today, hydrodynamic models are usually computer-generated animations or formulas that can be applied to the same conditions in real life.

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Hydrodynamic models analyze conditions in the oceans and other bodies of water and can predict various outcomes. Short-term weather conditions can often be predicted by the ocean’s actions. The ecology of an area can also be predicted using these models, as the most accurate models can show information such as water level, salinity, currents, and temperature. Scientists can tell, for example, whether aquatic plant life will grow favorably in the next year. This is particularly useful in areas like the US Gulf Coast, where plant life in the water impacts hurricane severity.

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