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A Simple Physical Model to Assist in Fluid Mechanics Calculations

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Your Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrations of Hands-On and Virtual In-Class Teaching Aids

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Anne Dudek Ronan P.E. New York University

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Anne Dudek Ronan, Ph.D., P.E., is an Industry Professor in the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering NYU. Although her main area of interest is Water Resources Engineering, she teaches across the curriculum – from the freshman Introduction to Civil Engineering course to graduate classes in Groundwater Hydrology and Surface Water Pollution. She also advises PhD and Masters degree students and is faculty adviser for two student clubs. Previously, Anne was an Adjunct Professor at The Cooper Union and Assistant Professor at San Jose State University. She has won several teaching awards for her passion for undergraduate and graduate education.

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This “5-minute presentation” will introduce participants to a simple physical model that the author uses to help students learn how to calculate the hydrostatic force on a planar surface. A frequent source of confusion among students when learning this concept is the definition of “area.” Students often mix up the area of the planar surface with the area of the side of the pressure distribution. This model helps differentiate between the two. It also provides an easy means of showing students that the pressure distribution is not prismatic when the it acts on a planar surface of variable width. Since introducing this model several years ago, student performance on homework and exam problems related to this concept have generally increased by approximately ten percent.

Ronan, A. D. (2019, June), A Simple Physical Model to Assist in Fluid Mechanics Calculations Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31994

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