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Fluid flows are widespread in nature and everyday life. Environmental Fluid Mechanics is the scientific study of naturally occurring flows of air and water on our planet Earth, especially of those that can affect the environmental quality of those fluids. With the rapid change of environment and its impact of society, it has become increasingly important for students in engineering to have a systematic knowledge of environmental fluid mechanics. This course will focus on a diverse range of environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the oceans, lakes, streams, subsurface environments and building ventilation. Consequently, this course is designed to be of interest and relevance for all students majoring in Physics, Engineering, or physical streams of marine or climate science.
This subject will concentrate on the fluid dynamics of processes which may range in scale from the millimetre size turbulent eddies up to the accidental release of a pollutant which may spread to contaminate a region many kilometres in size. The buoyancy effects and the fluid motions associated with density differences are central to most of the flows which will be addressed in this course. These density differences may be due to differences in temperature, concentration of a solute, composition or the presence of a phase change.
The subject begins with an overview of the field of fluid mechanics and description of the physics governing fluid flow. These physical principles are applied to some examples, including free-surface flows, gravity current, stratified flows, gravity waves, convection and heat transfer, and fluid instability. The course will have four major components which consists of 1. Waves in fluids (interfacial waves and internal gravity waves), 2. Vertical flows (turbulent plumes, filling box, double-diffusive convection), 3. Horizontal flows (shallow water approximation, single-layer hydraulics, gravity currents, particle-laden flows, two-layer flows) and 4. Turbulent mixing (mixing across very stable interfaces and turbulent convection).
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will be able to:
- 1. Understand Demonstrate mastery over a range of environmental fluid flows in terms of the fundamental physical principles and equations that govern them
- 2. Recognise how common theoretical, laboratory and numerical techniques can be used to investigate fluid flows in environmental and engineering contexts
- 3. Apply their problem-solving and physical modelling ability for a range of environmental flows
- 4. Demonstrate a well-developed capability in written and communication of scientific ideas.
- Apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
- Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solutions.
- Communicate effectively with the engineering team and with the community at large.
- Be creative and innovative.
- Ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
Last updated: 3 November 2022