Physics Assignment Help With Continuity Equation for fluid

8.8 Continuity Equation for fluid

This is a mathematical expression for the conservation of fluid mass following in a region. Consider a streamline fluid entering in a pipe at P and leave it at point Q. If P be the density of fluid at a point where velocity v then mass of fluid enter a region of cross-section area A is

fluid statics1

m = rvA

Since there is no distribution of mass while flowing from P to Q, so mass entering per second is equal to mass learning at Q per second, i.e.

mp = mQ

or rpvpAp = rQvQAQ

In general rvA = constant

This is the equation of continuity. If the fluid is compressible, then r = constant at each point in fluid. Thus, the equation of continuity reduces to

vA= constant

The continuity equation, also known as the conservation of mass equation, is a fundamental principle in fluid dynamics and fluid mechanics. It states that for an incompressible fluid (a fluid with constant density), the mass entering a control volume must be equal to the mass leaving that control volume, provided there are no sources or sinks of mass within the volume. Mathematically, the continuity equation can be expressed as:

∇·(ρ * V) = 0


  • ∇· is the divergence operator, which represents the divergence of a vector field.
  • ρ is the density of the fluid (constant for incompressible fluids).
  • V is the velocity vector field of the fluid.

In words, the equation says that the divergence of the product of density and velocity is equal to zero within a control volume. This implies that the rate of change of mass within the control volume is zero, meaning that mass is conserved.

For a steady-state flow (where the velocity field does not change with time), the continuity equation simplifies to:

∇·(ρ * V) = 0

This equation is used in various applications in fluid mechanics, such as in the analysis of fluid flow in pipes, channels, and other systems, where it helps ensure that mass is conserved and provides insights into how fluid velocity and density are related.

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