2023-2024 / MECA0011-2

Fluid Mechanics : Basics


20h Th, 30h Pr, 25h Proj.

Number of credits

 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Architectural Engineering4 crédits 
 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Engineering4 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering4 crédits 


Michel Pirotton

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course introduces the basic concepts and mathematical models used in various fields of application of fluid mechanics. A particular attention is paid to the understanding of the physical processes.

  • Definition of fluid vs solid
  • General conservation principles
  • Hydrostatics, buoyancy, stability
  • Eulerian vs Lagrangian movement
  • Euler, Navier-Stokes and Bernoulli equations
  • Notions of viscosity and viscous tensions (Couette, Poiseuille flow, etc.)
  • Pi theorem, adimensional numbers and similarity laws
  • Potential flows
  • Lift force, drag effects, d'Alembert's paradox
  • Real fluid: laminar flow, stability of flow, turbulent flow
  • Local head loss and in length
Practical work
  • Hydrostatics
  • Conservation principles
  • Irrotational and potential flows
  • Lift and drag
  • Pipe flow

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

This course establishes a link between general courses in maths, physics, thermodynamics, numerical analysis, etc., and a particular domain of engineering sciences: fluid mechanics. It has a double objective:

* to teach students to use the notions studied in these general courses in order to approach a new discipline, which involves "crossing" these notions and developing a synthetic and applied approach
* to provide students with the bases in fluid mechanics and to teach them to apply them to a number of concrete cases.

For engineering students who are going to specialise in the domains of construction, geology, mechanics, aeronautics, and applied physics, this course will serve as a foundation for a series of more specialised courses such Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics, Applied and Environmental Hydraulics, Hydrogeology, the study of Pumps and Turbines, Hemodynamics, etc.
For the others, this course is about training future engineers in a scientific approach while providing the "basic vocabulary" that will allow them to interact with specialists.

Particular attention is paid to fluid resistance, flows in pipes in continuous and discontinuous movements, the flow of a inviscid fluid and to applications of the moment equation.

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, II.1, III.1, III.2, IV.1, IV.2, VI.1, VI.2, VII.2 of the BSc in engineering.


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

General Physics course, Mathematical Analysis course, Numerical Analysis course, Materials mechanics course

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Practice (2 hrs/week).
Work carried out in groups or individually, numerical or in the Construction Hydraulics Laboratory on the 2 main notions of the class :

  • potentional flows;
  • pipe flows.
A Moodle platform is available to support theoretical and practical sessions. Forums, wikis and exercises are available on the latter. Mandatory exercises have to be handled through the platform.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

2nd four-month period

Ex-cathedra classes. Podcasts available for each theoretical session.
Oral questions to be asked after class or during the break. Written questions to be asked on the forum.
Active participation during practical classes, mandatory exercise to be made at the end of each session. These mandatory exercises must be completed within a week delay (the latest is before the begining of the next theoretical session). Each exercise is marked.

Recommended or required readings

  • Slides available on the Moodle platform  for the beginning of the course
  • Course notes available at CdC for the practical part.
  • Lecture notes available online for the theoretical part.
  • Reference works: Mécanique des fluides  (C. Ancey) - - Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics (Wiley & Streeter)- Mécanique des Fluides (M. Fermigier)
  • Compulsory reading: NO
  • Advised reading: Mécanique des fluides  (C. Ancey)

Handling in practical works reports is mandatory in order to take examinations and leads to an individual mark. No handling in second session.
Mandatory exercises organised at the end of each practical class lead to an individual mark. The time limit is specified on the platform. No handling in second session.
A written examination is organized for the whole of the course during the June or August/September examination period. It counts for a theoretical and exercises parts.
The theoretical examinations are organized without any support. A list of questions is provided as a guide. The practical examinations can be solved using the course support.
The final mark results from a balance between the partial marks; 25% for the report of the transversal project, 5% for the mandatory exercises and 70% for the written examination.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Professor : Pr. Michel Pirotton, +32 (0)4 366 95 36, michel.pirotton@uliege.be

Assistant : Ir. Vincent Schmitz, +32 (0)4 366 90 04, V.Schmitz@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs