Hydrodynamics is a subset of fluid dynamics which studies liquids that are at rest or in motion. Fluid mechanics has been around for thousands of years. Archimedes made the first known contributions with his invention of the screw pump. The ancient Romans developed extensive hydraulic machines and devices by using Archimedes’ screw pump and mine pumping system.

Major developments in hydrodynamics did not start to happen until Sir Isaac Newton formulated the laws of motion. Leonhard Euler applied these laws to fluids. He recognized that dynamic laws for fluids could only be expressed with relatively simple forms. The effects of friction or viscosity had to be neglected. Thus, the results of his analysis were only an estimate.

Today, we have a series of equations to explain the properties of liquids through the conservation laws of mass, energy and momentum. Hydrodynamics is largely used to explain flow through pipes and various obstacles, such as dams. It is also used to predict the flow patterns of turbulent or interrupted flow. With computational simulations, large hydrodynamic problems can be simulated on a small scale. This is extremely useful when looking at the conditions in the ocean or large bodies of water.

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