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Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation

What is Bernoulli’s Equation?

Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation: Bernoulli’s theorem states that the sum of pressure, potential energy per unit volume, and kinetic energy per unit volume of an ideal fluid that is flowing in a steady state is constant at each point along a streamlined path in a pipe.

Additionally, Bernoulli’s equation is a fundamental principle in fluid dynamics that explains how the pressure, velocity, and elevation of a flowing fluid are related. It helps us understand how fluids, like water or air, move in pipes or over surfaces.

Derivation of Bernoulli's Equation
Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation

Imagine you are holding a hose and water is flowing out. Bernoulli’s equation tells us that as the water moves faster (higher velocity), its pressure decreases. This is why you can feel the hose pushing back when you cover part of the opening – the pressure increases, slowing down the water.

Additionally, if you lift the hose, the water flows slower at the top, and according to Bernoulli’s equation, its pressure increases compared to the bottom where it’s flowing faster.

This principle is used in many real-life situations. For example, airplanes stay in the air because the shape of their wings makes air move faster above them, reducing pressure and creating lift. Formula 1 cars use it to stay glued to the track by designing their shapes to control airflow. In essence, Bernoulli’s equation helps us understand how fluid speed and pressure changes are interconnected.

Bernoulli’s Equation Formula

At the heart of fluid dynamics lies the cornerstone known as Bernoulli’s equation. This equation, derived from the principle of conservation of energy, describes the behaviour of a fluid as it flows through different sections of a pipeline or conduit. In its simplest form, the equation can be expressed as follows:

P + ½ρv² + ρgh = constant


  • P represents the pressure exerted by the fluid,
  • ρ denotes the fluid density,
  • v symbolizes the fluid velocity,
  • g stands for the acceleration due to gravity, and
  • h represents the height above a reference point

Video Explanation on Derivation Bernoulli’s Equation

Part One: Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation
Part Two: Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation

The Components of Bernoulli’s Equation

Breaking down Bernoulli’s equation reveals its underlying components, each contributing to the overall understanding of fluid dynamics:

  1. Pressure Term (P): The pressure exerted by the fluid on its surroundings plays a crucial role in determining the fluid’s behavior. As the fluid’s speed changes, its pressure also varies, influencing the dynamics of the system.
  2. Kinetic Energy Term (½ρv²): This term represents the kinetic energy possessed by the fluid due to its velocity. It highlights the connection between the fluid’s speed and its energy state.
  3. Potential Energy Term (ρgh): The potential energy term takes into account the fluid’s height above a reference point. It demonstrates the influence of gravitational potential energy on the fluid’s overall energy.

By comprehending these components, we can unlock the equation’s true potential and apply it to a myriad of practical scenarios.

Derivation of Bernoulli’s Equation:

At the heart of fluid dynamics lies Bernoulli’s equation, which describes the relationship between pressure, velocity, and elevation in a fluid flowing along a streamline. This equation is a manifestation of the conservation of energy principle applied to fluid flow. By considering various factors, we can derive Bernoulli’s equation step by step.

Conservation of Energy:

The derivation of Bernoulli’s equation starts with the concept of conservation of energy. This fundamental principle asserts that the total mechanical energy of a fluid particle remains constant along its path, neglecting external forces like friction.

Kinetic Energy Term:

The kinetic energy term in Bernoulli’s equation accounts for the energy associated with the fluid’s velocity. As a fluid particle moves, its kinetic energy changes, influencing the overall energy balance.

Potential Energy Term:

The potential energy term introduces the elevation of the fluid particle in a gravitational field. Changes in potential energy contribute to variations in the total energy of the fluid.

Pressure Energy Term:

The pressure energy term represents the force exerted by the fluid’s pressure. It plays a crucial role in the derivation as pressure differences contribute significantly to fluid flow behavior.

Simplifying Assumptions:

To facilitate the derivation process, certain assumptions are made. These include steady flow conditions, incompressibility of the fluid, and negligible viscous effects.

Applying Euler’s Equation:

Euler’s equation, derived from Newton’s second law, is a fundamental equation in fluid dynamics. It forms the basis for deriving Bernoulli’s equation by considering pressure, velocity, and acceleration terms.

Integrating Euler’s Equation:

Integrating Euler’s equation along a streamline leads to the development of Bernoulli’s equation. This integration combines the kinetic energy, potential energy, and pressure energy terms, offering a comprehensive insight into fluid flow behavior.

Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation:

The derivation of Bernoulli’s equation opens the door to a multitude of practical applications in various fields. From aviation to hydraulics, this equation plays a pivotal role in understanding and predicting fluid behavior.

Aerodynamics and Flight:

In aviation, Bernoulli’s equation elucidates the principles of lift generation. The faster-moving air above an aircraft’s wing corresponds to lower pressure, creating an upward force that allows flight.

Blood Flow and Physiology:

The circulatory system’s functioning can be explained using Bernoulli’s equation. Blood flow through arteries and veins involves pressure differences, which influence the circulation of blood in the body.

Hydraulic Engineering:

Hydraulic systems heavily rely on Bernoulli’s equation to design pipelines, water supply networks, and dams. This equation aids in optimizing fluid transport and distribution.

Meteorology and Weather Patterns:

Bernoulli’s equation contributes to understanding weather phenomena such as wind patterns and air pressure variations. It explains how differences in atmospheric pressure drive air movements on a global scale.

Sports and Recreational Activities:

Sports like baseball and golf exploit the principles of Bernoulli’s equation. The phenomenon of a curveball in baseball and the lift of a golf ball are both influenced by fluid dynamics.

Bernoulli’s Equation in Action: Practical Examples

To solidify our understanding, let’s delve into practical scenarios where Bernoulli’s equation takes center stage:

1. Airplane Lift and Flight

Picture yourself seated in an airplane, soaring through the sky. Have you ever wondered how this massive machine defies gravity? The answer lies in Bernoulli’s equation. As air flows over the curved shape of the wing, it accelerates, leading to a decrease in pressure above the wing and a higher pressure below. This pressure difference creates lift, allowing the aircraft to achieve and maintain flight.

2. The Marvel of Straw Sippers

Ever marveled at the physics behind a straw sipper? When you sip a beverage through a straw, you create a low-pressure area within the straw. Bernoulli’s equation explains this phenomenon: the increased fluid velocity within the narrow straw results in lower pressure, causing the liquid to rise into the straw and into your mouth.

3. Squirt Guns and Fluid Dynamics

Engage in some summertime fun with a squirt gun, and you’re also experimenting with Bernoulli’s equation. As you squeeze the trigger, water is forced through a narrow nozzle. The increased velocity of the water results in a drop in pressure, allowing atmospheric pressure to push water into the gun, ready for your next squirt.

FAQs about Bernoulli’s Equation:

What is the fundamental concept behind Bernoulli’s equation?

Bernoulli’s equation is based on the conservation of energy principle, stating that the total mechanical energy of a fluid particle remains constant along its path in the absence of external forces like friction.

How does Bernoulli’s equation relate to fluid flow?

Bernoulli’s equation establishes a relationship between pressure, velocity, and elevation in a fluid flowing along a streamline. It helps predict how these factors influence fluid behavior.

Why is Bernoulli’s equation important in aviation?

In aviation, Bernoulli’s equation explains lift generation. Faster air above an aircraft wing results in lower pressure, creating an upward force that enables flight.

Can Bernoulli’s equation be applied to non-ideal fluids?

Bernoulli’s equation assumes incompressibility and neglects viscous effects, making it suitable for ideal fluids. For non-ideal fluids, modifications and additional terms are necessary.

How does Bernoulli’s equation impact hydraulic system design?

Hydraulic engineering relies on Bernoulli’s equation to optimize the design of pipelines, water distribution networks, and hydraulic machinery for efficient fluid transport.

Is Bernoulli’s equation applicable to gases as well as liquids?

Yes, Bernoulli’s equation applies to both gases and liquids, as long as the assumptions of incompressibility and negligible viscosity hold true for the specific fluid.

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