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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Mathematical Sciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • (Dynamics I (MATH1607) AND Analysis in Many Variables II (MATH2031) AND one extra 20 credit Level 2 mathematics module) OR (Analysis in Many Variables II (MATH2031) AND Analysis I (MATH1051) (if taken in Year 2) AND Dynamics I (if taken in Year 2)) OR (Foundations of Physics I (PHYS1122) AND Analysis in Many Variables II (MATH2031) AND one extra 20 credit Level 2 mathematics module.)


  • One 20 credit Level 3 mathematics module.

Excluded Combination of Modules


  • To introduce a mathematical description of fluid flow and other continuous media to familiarise students with the successful applications of mathematics in this area of modelling.
  • To prepare students for future study of advanced topics.


  • Kinematics: Eulerian and Lagrangian pictures, velocity field, streamlines and stream functions.
  • Compressibility, vorticity and circulation, integrals over material domains.
  • Dynamics of ideal fluids: derivation of the incompressible Euler equations, energy, vorticity dynamics, circulation and rotating frames.
  • Water waves: free-surface boundaries, linearisation, travelling and standing waves.
  • Compressible flow: barotropic fluids, sound waves, nonlinearity.
  • Hydrodynamic stability: normal mode analysis, Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities.
  • Dynamics of viscous fluids: Newtonian fluids, derivation of the Navier-Stokes equations, exact solutions, dynamical similarity, boundary layers.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will: be able to solve novel and/or complex problems in Fluid Mechanics.
  • Have a systematic and coherent understanding of theoretical mathematics in the field of Fluid Mechanics.
  • Have acquired coherent body of knowledge of these subjects demonstrated through one or more of the following topic areas:
  • Kinematics and dynamics of fluid flows, compressible flow, hydrodynamic stability and dynamics of viscous fluids.
  • Equations of motion and their derivation for fluids.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In addition students will have specialised mathematical skills in the following areas which can be used with minimal guidance: Modelling.
  • They will be able to formulate and use mathematical models in various situations.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Lectures demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
    • Assignments for self-study develop problem-solving skills and enable students to test and develop their knowledge and understanding.
    • Formatively assessed assignments provide practice in the application of logic and high level of rigour as well as feedback for the students and the lecturer on students' progress.
    • The end-of-year examination assesses the knowledge acquired and the ability to solve predictable and unpredictable problems.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 42 2 per week for 20 weeks and 2 in term 3 1 Hour 42
    Problems Classes 8 Four in each of terms 1 and 2 1 Hour 8
    Preparation and Reading 150
    Total 200

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Written examination 3 Hours 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Eight written assignments to be assessed and returned. Other assignments are set for self-study and complete solutions are made available to students.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

    If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

    If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.