Fluid Mechanics

Each list begins with basic conceptual vocabulary you need to know for MCAT questions and proceeds to advanced terms that might appear in context in MCAT passages. The terms are links to Wikipedia articles.
Pressure is the force per unit area applied on a surface in a direction perpendicular to that surface.
A fluid is defined as a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress regardless of the magnitude of the applied stress.
Bernoulli's principle
Bernoulli's Principle states that for an ideal fluid with no work being performed on the fluid, an increase in velocity occurs simultaneously with decrease in pressure or a change in the fluid's gravitational potential energy.
Density is mass per unit volume.
The pascal is the SI unit of pressure or stress.
Buoyancy is the upward force on an object produced by the surrounding fluid in which it is fully or partially immersed.
A liquid is a fluid that can freely form a distinct surface at the boundaries of its bulk material.
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid to deform under shear stress.
Pascal's law
Pascal's law states that for all points at the same absolute height in a connected body of an incompressible fluid at rest, the fluid pressure is the same, even if additional pressure is applied on the fluid at some place.
Fluid dynamics
Fluid dynamics is the sub-discipline of fluid mechanics dealing with fluids in motion.
Hydrodynamics is fluid dynamics applied to liquids.
Volumetric flow rate
The volumetric flow rate, also volume flow rate, is the volume of fluid which passes through a given surface per unit time.
Turbulent flow
Turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic, stochastic property changes such as low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time.
Laminar flow
Laminar or streamline flow occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers.
Surface tension
Surface tension is an effect within the surface layer of a liquid that causes that layer to behave as an elastic sheet.
Capillary action
Capillary action is the ability of a substance to draw another substance into it such as with water and porous paper.
Meniscus is a curve in the surface of a liquid produced in response to the surface of its container.
Reynolds number
Identifying different flow regimes, such as laminar or turbulent flow, the Reynolds number is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces quantitfying the relative importance of these two types of forces for given flow conditions.
Incompressible flow
An incompressible flow is flow in which the divergence of velocity is zero. This is more precisely termed isochoric flow.
Compressible flow
A flow is considered a compressible flow if the change in density of the flow with respect to pressure is non-zero.
Poiseuille's law
For a viscous liquid flowing through a cylindrical tube with constant circular cross-section, Poiseuille's law relates the flow rate, pipe radius, pipe length, and the pressure difference between the two ends.
Fluid statics
Fluid statics is the science of fluids at rest, and is a sub-field within fluid mechanics.
Non-Newtonian fluid
A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid in which the viscosity changes with the applied strain rate. As a result, non-Newtonian fluids may not have a well-defined viscosity.
Newtonian fluid
A Newtonian fluid is a fluid that flows like water-its stress versus rate of strain curve is linear and passes through the origin. The constant of proportionality is known as the viscosity.
No-slip condition
The no-slip condition states that at a boundary, fluids have zero velocity relative to the boundary.
Boundary layer
A boundary layer is that layer of fluid in the immediate vicinity of a bounding surface.
Wetting is the contact between a liquid and a surface.
Navier-Stokes equations
The Navier-Stokes equations establish that changes in momentum in infinitesimal volumes of fluid are simply the sum of dissipative viscous forces, changes in pressure, gravity, and other forces acting inside the fluid.
Vorticity is a mathematical concept used in fluid dynamics which is related to the amount of circulation or rotation in a fluid.

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