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Fluid Dynamics and Environmental Physics Laboratory

Semester 2

This laboratory-based course consists of hands-on and computer aided laboratory exercises that explore topic areas from fluid mechanics and environmental physics. The theoretical concepts of fluid mechanics are examined experimentally and used to predict the behavior of fluids in larger systems. These concepts are used to explain the properties of wind, rain and clouds, and their effects on the climate and climate change. Measurement and analysis of other environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, and pressure) are also used to investigate the climate and climate change. A critical review of a selected journal paper is an integral part of the course. 


The course will consist of laboratory exercises covering principles of Fluid Mechanics and Environmental Physics, along with an exercise on the review of a scientific journal article. The topics covered in the laboratory exercises are:

  • Measurement of fluid drag on spheres and disks
  • Investigation of Bernoulli and Poiseulle equations with applications to fluid flow 
  • Energy Losses in fluid flow.
  • Computer simulations of fluid flow in circular and rectangular pipes
  • Estimation of evaporation from wet surfaces
  • Investigation of heat flux and latent heat flux
  • Measurement of meteorological parameters
  • Computer aided environmental data analysis
  • Investigation of cloud droplet formation via super cooling of water
  • Simulation of  the effects of environmental parameters on climate change



The course assessment will be conducted as follows:

Course work

One paper review (10%) and one oral presentation (14%)   24%

Nine laboratory reports of equal weighting                           36%

Final Examination

One 4-hour final practical examination                     40%

Students will be expected to satisfy the examiners in both components

Learning Objectives: 

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • investigate and describe the forces acting on objects placed in fluid streams
  • describe the properties that affect flow rates in pipes, and examine Poiseuille and Bernoullis equations using simple experimental set ups
  • estimate the energy losses in moving fluids and from wet vegetated surfaces
  • utilize software to simulate cloud droplet growth and to manipulate and plot environmental data in 1, 2 and 3 dimensions
  • measure basic atmospheric parameters (temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed) and use them to describe the basic state of the atmosphere
  • perform appropriate statistical analysis on experimental data
  • critically review a scientific journal article
  • make effective oral presentations
  • write technical laboratory reports
PHYS1411 and PHYS1412 and PHYS1421 and PHYS1422


  • Fluid Mechanics and Environmental Physics Laboratory manual
  • Douglas, J. F. Gasiorek, J. M. , Swaffield, J. A. and  Jack L.B., (2011),  Fluid Mechanics, 6th Edition; Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-273-71772-0


  • Salby, M. L., (2012), Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate, 2nd Edition; Cambridge University press. ISBN978-0521767187
Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 2
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