Fluid Mechanics

Course content

Fluid mechanics is concerned with moving and stationary fluids. Given that the vast majority of the mass in the universe exists in a fluid state, the importance of fluid mechanics cannot be overstated.

We build on the concepts of classical mechanics and thermodynamics, and develop the mathematical and numerical framework to understand the behavior of fluids, from molecular to astronomical scales. Particular focus will be placed on planetary and galaxy scale applications.

Specifically, we begin by discussing the basic properties of fluids and gases, then apply thermodynamics and conservation laws to arrive at the Navier Stokes equations. With their help we explore the behavior of fluids under different conditions, with a special focus on concepts relevant in biology, oceanography and complex systems theory: turbulence, vorticity dynamics, boundary layers, instability and waves.


BSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome

The overall goal is that the student has thoroughly understood the concepts of fluid mechanics and can describe a practical problem mathematically and provide an analytical or numerical solution. In particular, she acquires the following


- tensor algebra

- numerical implentation thereof

- applying and manipulating the Navier-Stokes equations

- an intuition about how friction, rotation and inertia affect fluids

- design of numerical experiments and visualization & interpretation of the results



- basic properties of fluids and gases

- their governing thermodynamic and conservation laws

- numerical methods

- attributes of complex dynamics


This course will provide the students with a competent background of fluid mechanics and qualify them for further studies within, among other fields, astrophysics, biophysics and geophysics. The mathematical and numerical skills will also be fundamental for further research in disciplines that rely on Big Data.


lectures, theory exercises and programming exercises

Fluid Mechanics, Kundu et al., Academic Press

Classical Mechanics
Introduction to Python

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
The exam questions will require the student to convert a real life problem
into a set of partial differential equations and, solve them, and then provide
a discussion of the solution.
Without aids
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning goals

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42,5
  • Preparation
  • 80
  • Practical exercises
  • 41
  • Exercises
  • 42
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • English
  • 206,0