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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: June 2012

2 - Basic Principles


We are concerned in this book primarily with a description of the motion of fluids under the action of some applied force and with convective heat transfer in moving fluids that are not isothermal. We also consider a few analogous mass transfer problems involving the convective transport of a single solute in a solvent.

It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the basic principles and equations that describe these processes from a continuum mechanics point of view. Nevertheless, we begin our discussion with a review of these principles and the derivation of the governing differential equations (DEs). The aim is to provide a reasonably concise and unified point of view. It has been my experience that the lack of an adequate understanding of the basic foundations of the subject frequently leads to a feeling on the part of students that the whole subject is impossibly complex. However, the physical principles are actually quite simple and generally familiar to any student with a physics background in classical mechanics. Indeed, the main problems of fluid mechanics and of convective heat transfer are not in the complexity of the underlying physical principles, but rather in the attempt to understand and describe the fascinating and complicated phenomena that they allow. From a mathematical point of view, the main problem is not the derivation of the governing equations that is presented in this second chapter, but in their solution. The latter topic will occupy the remaining chapters of this book.