PHYSICS 332 : Fluid Mechanics


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Surveys fluid mechanics using the Navier-Stokes equations, covering Newtonian and simple non-Newtonian fluids, and examples from soft condensed matter. Different flow regimes will be studied, from small-scale laminar flows to large-scale turbulent and potential flows, and flows in rotating frames of reference. Applications range from microfluidics to geophysical fluids. Numerical approaches and computational tools will be introduced.

Course Overview

The aims of the course are:
  • to appreciate concepts of fluid dynamics, to understand the effect of viscosity;
  • to become familiar with typical low Reynolds number and high Reynolds number flows;
  • to understand common approximations and methods to describe the motion of fluids;
  • to acquire basics skills in computational fluid dynamics.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Be able to apply the mathematical methods of vector calculus to problems in fluid mechanics and dynamics (Capability 1 and 3)
  2. Be aware of numerical techniques for computational fluid mechanics and dynamics (Capability 1 and 3)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the physics of simple and complex fluids from a continuum perspective (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Understand and apply knowledge of high and low Reynolds flows in practical situations (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the Navier-Stokes equations and be able to solve these equations analytically in simple geometries (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the physics behind viscosity, compressibility, diffusion, and surface tension, and be able to determine which properties are the most important in particular situations (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Be familiar with the practical applications of fluid mechanics and dynamics, from its importance in climate physics through to micro and nano-fluidics (Capability 1, 4 and 6)
  8. Be able to read and summarise a research paper in physics (Capability 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  9. Be able to an appropriate mathematical strategy to solve a problem set out in physical terms, possibly consulting online resources and/or fellow students. (Capability 3 and 5)
  10. Be able to present written solutions to assigned problems in a thoroughly argued manner, setting out the method used and all essential steps taken in a logical sequence. (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assignments 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam

Key Topics

Module 1 Introduction to low Reynolds number flows (Weeks 1-4)
Module 2 High Reynolds number flows (Weeks 5-8)
Module 3 Microfluidics and surface tension (Weeks 9-12)

Special Requirements

There are no special requirements for this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 5 hours of work on assignments each week.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Lectures will be available as recordings.

The course will not include live online events.

Attendance on campus is required for the exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

There are no required texts, but  the following resources are recommended

Sections 14.5-14.7 here: (Links to an external site.). From OpenStax, © 1999-2020, Rice University. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (Links to an external site.).
T. E. Faber: Fluid Dynamics for Physicists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995.
John D. Anderson: Fundamentals of Aerodynamics. 3rd ed, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2007.

(Reference / Mathematical)
G. K. Batchelor, Introduction to Fluid Dynamics. Cambridge University Press, 2000 (first published 1967).

(Soft Matter)
A. L. Jones, Soft Condensed Matter. Oxford University Press, 2002.

(Surfaces and Wetting)
Pierre-Gilles de Gennes,‎ Francoise Brochard-Wyart,‎ David Quere: Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena: Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves, 1st ed., Springer, 2004. 
Jacob N. Israelachvili: Intermolecular and Surface Forces, Third Edition, Academic Press, 2011.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode.

Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: Lectures,  tutorials, office hours

Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2021 12:59 p.m.