Bernoulli's theorem

1. Statistics. See law of averages (def. 1).
2. Hydrodynamics. an expression of the conservation of energy in streamline flow, stating that the sum of the ratio of the pressure to the mass density, the product of the gravitational constant and the vertical height, and the square of the velocity divided by 2 are constant.
[1920-25; (in def. 1) named after Jakob BERNOULLI; (in def. 2) named after Daniel BERNOULLI]

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      in fluid dynamics, relation among the pressure, velocity, and elevation in a moving fluid (liquid or gas), the compressibility and viscosity (internal friction) of which are negligible and the flow of which is steady, or laminar. First derived (1738) by the Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli (Bernoulli, Daniel), the theorem states, in effect, that the total mechanical energy of the flowing fluid, comprising the energy associated with fluid pressure, the gravitational potential energy of elevation, and the kinetic energy of fluid motion, remains constant. Bernoulli's theorem is the principle of energy conservation for ideal fluids in steady, or streamline, flow.

      Bernoulli's theorem implies, therefore, that if the fluid flows horizontally so that no change in gravitational potential energy occurs, then a decrease in fluid pressure is associated with an increase in fluid velocity. If the fluid is flowing through a horizontal pipe of varying cross-sectional area, for example, the fluid speeds up in constricted areas so that the pressure the fluid exerts is least where the cross section is smallest. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Venturi effect, after the Italian scientist G.B. Venturi (1746–1822), who first noted the effects of constricted channels on fluid flow.

      Bernoulli's theorem is the basis for many engineering applications, such as aircraft-wing design. The air flowing over the upper curved surface of an aircraft wing moves faster than the air beneath the wing, so that the pressure underneath is greater than that on the top of the wing, causing lift.

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Universalium. 2010.

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