Intro to Fluid Dynamics - Lesson 1

In nature, matter exists in three phases: solids, liquids and gases. Broadly speaking, both liquids and gases can be regarded as fluids. Fluid dynamics is the study of such fluids in motion.

Understanding the principles of fluid dynamics is critical in many engineering applications. Automotive and aerospace engineers rely on these fundamental concepts to design and optimize the shapes of their vehicles or aircraft. The design of space shuttles and rockets used to carry humans and terrestrial technologies, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, into space requires a deep understanding of fluid dynamics.


With the ever-growing demands to increase the performance of electronics, engineers around the world use fluids to efficiently cool them and improve their reliability. Engineers use fluid dynamics to cool our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

The human body has another very important fluid — blood. The study of blood flow through our circulatory system provides insightful information related to performing cardiovascular surgeries and developing medical devices such as heart-lung machines and breathing aids.


Despite our quest for alternative sources of energy, we still rely on oil and natural gas, which are pumped through a pipeline network connecting various locations. The Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) extends to approximately 800 miles of piping from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. This pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 to transport crude oil. It is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world.

In this lesson, we will introduce other engineering applications where a good understanding of the fundamentals of fluid dynamics is important.

Alternate video link.

Here are the corresponding handout slides for this lesson.