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Understanding the Hydrodynamic Principle in River Engineering

Learn the principles of hydrodynamics and mass conservation in river engineering with this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course in the fundamentals of hydrodynamics and mass conservation is aimed at equipping you with the skills required to model the properties of fluids mathematically. Through the use of mass conservation and specific energy theories and their subsequent equations, you will have an in-depth understanding of hydrodynamics. The course will give example problems and their solutions to cement your acquired knowledge further.
Understanding the Hydrodynamic Principle in River Engineering
  • Duration

    4-5 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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Water is continuously in motion around the Earth and constantly changing its physical form. In which three states can water be found on Earth? This course will help you understand the hydrological cycle, an endless circulation of water between land, seas, and atmosphere. The wind and sun cause water to vaporise from land and water bodies, i.e. oceans, lakes and rivers. Plants also take up liquid water and give off tiny water droplets through pores in their leaves in a process called transpiration. The water vapour moves high above the Earth’s surface on rising air streams. Eventually, as the water droplets reach the cooler air high up in the atmosphere, it condenses to form clouds. This vapour then later falls back to Earth in the form of snow and rain through a process called precipitation. Precipitation that falls on the ground can flow over the surface as run-off into rivers and streams and trickle down through the soil to become groundwater.

This course on hydrodynamics and mass conservation will focus on developing mathematical models to solve river engineering problems. The course will explain the basic concepts of hydrodynamics and the principles of modelling as they are used for providing analytical solutions to river flow challenges. Mathematical derivations of important fluid characteristics will also be explained, and some solved numerical examples are given. The procedures used in the modelling of river systems in a laboratory, including proper scaling, will also be discussed. You will also investigate the theory of turbulent structures and the complex process of energy dissipations. The other areas to be covered include the river flow analysis in hydrodynamics, sediment transport and the nutrient transport mechanism in natural environments like a stream. Included in this course will be derivations for the continuity equations in three dimensions, the specific energy concept, channel transactions, hydraulic jump. Conclusively, non-rectangular channels in the calculation of specific energy will be explored.

Next, the course will cover the critical flow concept, the continuity equations for open channel flow. A series of problems with solutions will be presented to give you the confidence to understand the velocity field topics and the effects of water depth variations. The equations of these sections will be derived using the fundamental law of mass conservation. Examples and their solutions to mass conservations will be given to explain the 3-dimensional attributes of the equations. Following this, the course will examine linear momentum equations as they are used in river flow simulations. The linear momentum equations for 3-dimensional forms will be used to obtain the Navier-Stokes and the Saint-Venant equations. The course will discuss fluid flow, open channels’ geometry, and how contraction and expansion zones differ. Illustrations of the HEC-RAS river models will be given, covering continuity, specific energy, specific force and critical flow. If you are in engineering or environmental studies or have a desire to help save our natural resources, this course is for you. Why wait? Start this course today, and learn the exciting principles of Hydrodynamics.

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