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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH41820: Fluid Mechanics

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to G1K509 Mathematical Sciences


  • Problem Solving and Dynamics and Analysis in Many Variables.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


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


  • Kinematic description of fluid flows: streamlines and trajectories, mass conservation and continuity equation
  • Review of tensors, stress and rate of strain.
  • Dynamical models of fluid flows: Euler and Navier-Stokes equation.
  • Some methods to solve Euler and Navier-Stokes equations.
  • Waves: sound and water waves, linear and nonlinear.
  • Topics from: thermodynamics, scaling and dimensional analysis, hydrodynamic stability, NSE and turbulence, non-Newtonian fluid flows.
  • Reading material on a topic related to: hydrodynamic stability, turbulence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will: be able to solve complex, unpredictable and specialised problems in Continuum Mechanics.
  • have an understanding of specialised and complex theoretical mathematics in the field of Continuum Mechanics.
  • have mastered a coherent body of knowledge of these subjects demonstrated through one or more of the following topic areas: Kinematics of fluid flows.
  • Equations of motion and their derivation for fluids.
  • have an advanced understanding in one of the following areas: hydrodynamic stability, turbulence.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In addition students will have highly specialised and advanced mathematical skills in the following areas: Modelling.
  • They will be able to formulate and use mathematical models in various situations.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able to study independently to further their knowledge of an advanced topic.

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 complex and specialised 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 or electronic 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