MAS320 Fluid Mechanics I

Note: This is an old module occurrence.

You may wish to visit the module list for information on current teaching.

Semester 2, 2019/20 10 Credits
Lecturer: Dr Nils Mole uses MOLE Reading List
Aims Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment

The way in which fluids move is of immense practical importance; the most obvious examples of this are air and water, but there are many others such as lubricants in engines. Moreover, the scientific principles and mathematical techniques needed to explain fluid motion are of intrinsic interest. This module builds on Level 2 work (MAS280 Mechanics and Fluids; MAS222 Differential Equations). The first step is to derive the equation (Navier-Stokes) governing the motions of most common fluids. This serves as a basis for the remainder of MAS320, with the main addition to MAS280 being that it covers viscous (frictional) fluids.

Prerequisites: MAS222 (Differential Equations); MAS280 (Mechanics and Fluids)
No other modules have this module as a prerequisite.

Outline syllabus

  • Rate of strain tensor, constitutive equation, Navier-Stokes equation.
  • The stress vector.
  • Exact solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations: simple shear flow, Poiseuille flow, steady flow under gravity down an inclined plane, flow between rotating cylinders, infinite plate impulsively started into motion.
  • Reynolds number and the vorticity equation. The Burgers vortex.
  • Small Reynolds number flow, the flow past a sphere, flow through a tube with slowly varying radius.
  • Boundary layer theory: flow past a flat plate, skin friction, displacement thickness, momentum thickness, the Blasius solution, the Kármán-Pohlhausen approximation method.

Office hours

1-2pm on Thursdays, but you are welcome any time I am free.


  • To broaden the students' knowledge of Fluid Mechanics, in particular by introducing them to viscous fluids.
  • To introduce students to the mathematical and physical concepts used in the area of Fluid Dynamics.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of Fluid Mechanics, and have an awareness of the mathematical and physical concepts used in the area of Fluid Dynamics.

Teaching methods

Lectures, problem solving

20 lectures, no tutorials


One formal 2 hour written examination. Format: 4 compulsory questions.

Reading list

Type Author(s) Title Library Blackwells Amazon
B Acheson Elementary Fluid Dynamics 532.5 (A) Blackwells Amazon
B Landau and Lifshitz Fluid Mechanics 530.1 (L) Blackwells Amazon
B Paterson A First Course in Fluid Dynamics 532.51 (P) Blackwells Amazon
B Rosenhead Laminar Boundary Layers 629.13237 (R) Blackwells Amazon

(A = essential, B = recommended, C = background.)

Most books on reading lists should also be available from the Blackwells shop at Jessop West.