Active learning in fluid mechanics classes.

Active learning and using in class activities

  1. Active Learning – What, Why and How (Lisa Benson)
  2. Implementing Classroom Demonstrations – Incorporating Student Inquiry (Amy Chan-Hilton)

Material Properties

  1. Definition of a fluid – sliding OHP transparencies(video)
  2. Measuring specific gravity of oil with a U-tube manometer (video)
  3. Surface tension, soap bubbles, and footballs (video)
  4. Surface tension, Bernoulli, and soap bubbles II – bubble size (video)
  5. Surface tension – Parting of the pepper sea (video)
  6. Surface tension – floating Ping-Pong balls (video)
  7. Viscosity of different fluids (videos)
  8. Vapour pressure – Piston driven cavitation (video)
  9. Non-Newtonian silly putty (video)
  10. Atmospheric pressure – plunger tug-o-war (video)
  11. Molecular diffusion is a very slow process (video)
  12. Compressibility and incompressibility demonstrated with soda bottles and ketchup (video)
  13. More on surface tension – floating Ping-Pong balls (video)


  1. Visualizing hydrostatic pressure distributions using piles of books
  2. Atmospheric pressure, hydrostatics, and upside down water glasses (videos) (Henry Burridge)
  3. Buoyancy – Pushing down on water (video)
  4. Buoyancy and floating balls
  5. Buoyancy – floating soap bubbles (video)
  6. Measuring specific gravity of oil with a U-tube manometer (video)
  7. Manometers – the curious case of the coiled manometer (video)
  8. Buoyancy – Balancing ping-pong balls (video)
  9. ‘Rotational buoyancy’ – Hydrostatic pressure in solid body rotation (video)
  10. Buoyancy: Throwing rocks from boats (and weighing coins) (video)
  11. Hydrostatics under solid body acceleration: dropping leaky bottles (video)
  12. ‘Rotational buoyancy’ update – potting wheels and fishing tackle (video)
  13. Solid body rotation – measuring the rotational velocity of a potting wheel (video)
  14. Can popping a balloon demonstrate that air has mass? (video)


  1. Visualizing streak lines, path lines, and streamlines with lots of Ping-Pong balls (video)
  2. Vorticity and walking in circles (video)
  3. Fire whirl and stretching a vortex (video)

Conservation of volume

  1. Control volumes and conservation of ping-pong balls (videos)
  2. Conservation of volume – turbulent plumes and the filling box problem (video)
  3. Compressible vs incompressible flow and conservation of mass (video) from A. P. Baburaj


  1. Levitating a Ping-Pong ball in a funnel (video)
  2. Bernoulli, head loss and siphoning water from a fish tank (video)
  3. Blood pressure and Bernoulli (video)
  4. Bernoulli and the discharge velocity from a water pistol (video)
  5. Collapsing paper tents (video) (Jean Hertzberg)
  6. Discharge coefficient calculation and data presentation(video)
  7. Radial flow, Bernoulli, and levitating an index card (video)
  8. Pumpless fountains (video coming soon)

Work energy equation

  1. Pendulums and deriving the work energy equation (video)
  2. A $19 desktop constant head tank (video)

Momentum and angular momentum

  1. Momentum, angular momentum, and bendy straws (video)
  2. Momentum – air jets and paper plates (videos)
  3. Angular momentum and box fan design

Dimensional analysis

  1. Drag, dimensional analysis, and coffee filters (video)
  2. Dimensional Analysis and turbulent jets (video)
  3. Dimensional Analysis – spring mass systems (videos)

Drag, lift, and wakes

  1. Drag, dimensional analysis, and coffee filters (video)
  2. Flow separation and lift forces on houses (video)
  3. Lift, Boundary layer separation, and curve balls (video)
  4. Flow attachment, wakes, and blowing a candle out around a cup (video)
  5. Drag, added mass, and Spring-Mass systems (video)
  6. Rotational lift – Magnus effect on golf balls

Boundary Layers

  1. Spin up, boundary layers, and tracking tea leaves (video)

Pipe flow

  1. Bernoulli, head loss and siphoning water from a fish tank (video)
  2. Pipe networks and head loss (video)
  3. Desktop pipe flow and pipe network demonstrations

Open channel flow

  1. Radial hydraulic jumps (video)

Pumps and turbines

  1. Pump performance curves (video) (updated video from John Cimbala and Laura Pauley)
  2. Pump efficiency calculations (Ed Maurer)


  1. Turbulence in stratified and unstratified environments (video) by Bruce Sutherland

Viscous flows

  1. Viscous flow between parallel plates – lubrication and interfacial instabilities (video) by Morris Flynn

Take home lab / demonstrations

  1. Background
  2. Reflections on uncertainty quantification
  3. Ranking of common fluids by density
  4. Measuring the density of oil
  5. Measuring your specific gravity
  6. Measuring the relative viscosity
  7. Measuring the exit velocity of a hose
  8. Measuring the mass flux from a compressed air can

Other fluids education resources

  1. Other fluids education resources I – websites, books, and DVDs
  2. Other fluids education resources II – online videos
  3. Other fluids education resources III – YouTube channels
  4. Other fluids education resources IV: Science puzzles and fluids lab books


    1. A. P. Baburaj
    2. Lisa Benson
    3. Henry Burridge
    4. Amy Chan-Hilton
    5. John Cimbala
    6. Morris Flynn
    7. Jean Hertzberg
    8. Nigel Berkeley Kaye
    9. Ed Maurer
    10. Laura Pauley
    11. Ben Sill
    12. Bruce Sutherland