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. This is one of the more challenging - but ultimately rewarding - BSc level courses, because the equations are fundamentally nonlinear, and we rely heavily on vector algebra. As a result, upon successful completion of the course, the student will develop the necessary command of mathematical and numerical methods for handling nonlinear partial differential equations, as well as physical intuition about how to deal with moving and deforming parcels of fluids.

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
Vector algebra

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
Continuous assessment
Type of assessment details
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.
A student passes if they collect 50 out 100 possible points.
60 points can be obtained from the 3h written exam, and 40 points from the homework sets (biweekly, 4 sets, 10 points each).
Without aids
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several examiners

Same as regular written exam, counts 60% of the final grade.

The student can choose to use point from the homework sets for the final 40%, or submit new set no later than 3 weeks before the re-exam.


Criteria for exam assessment

See learning goals

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 48
  • Preparation
  • 131
  • Exercises
  • 24
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level

1 block

Block 3
no restrictions
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience
Contracting department
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Markus Jochum   (7-7471766a6f7c744775697035727c356b72)

Markus Jochum

Saved on the 05-10-2023

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