Fluid Mechanics deals with the study of the properties and movement of liquids. Fluids are found and used in every facet of our lives, ranging from the water we are so much dependent on to complex hydraulic machines. The history of fluid mechanics is as old as civilisation itself, as water has been used for centuries for irrigation, power, navigation, and so on. This unit (NEF2101) of study aims to provide students with a strong understanding of the basic concepts of fluid mechanics, which is essential for most engineering disciplines. It would introduce and teach students numerous concepts in static fluids as well as fluids in motion. Most of these concepts would be taught using practical examples found in day-to-day life (eg. objects immersed in water, water flowing in garden hoses and pipes, pumps, etc). Practical lab experiments would be undertaken to explain these concepts using hands-on experiments and demonstrations. Topics include: Hydrostatics, pressure, force on immersed surfaces; Pressure measurement, piezometers and U-tube manometers; Stability of floating bodies, Archimedes principle and metacentric height; Hydrodynamics, classification of flows, continuity, momentum and energy equations and their applications; Flow in pipes, pipe friction equations and Moody's diagram, Flow measurement in pipes (venturi meter and orifice meter); Pumps, types of pumps, performance equations, affinity laws, pumps in series and parallel, cavitation and surge.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


NEM1001 - Algebra and Calculus

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Apply basic concepts of Fluid Mechanics (hydrostatics as well as hydrodynamics), complemented with practical laboratory based experiments;  
  2. Calculate hydrostatic force on submerged bodies;  
  3. Evaluate the factors that control the stability of floating bodies;  
  4. Use continuity, momentum and energy equations to solve problems related to pipes and inter-reservoir pipe flow; and  
  5. Identify types of pumps and select suitable pumps for a variety of situations.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Individual Quizzes (2) 20%
Practicum Individual Lab experiment based assessments (2) 30%
Test Individual Test (1) 50%

Required reading

Class Notes and additional resources on VU Collaborate.

Understanding Hydraulics 3rd ed.
Hamill, Les. (2011)
MacMillan Press

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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