Page 1 1 The Physical Basis of DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS Ain A. Sonin Second Edition Page 2 1 The Physical Basis of DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS Ain A. Sonin Second Edition 2 Copyright © 2001 by Ain A. Sonin Department of Mechanical Engineering MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 First Edition published 1997. Versions of this material have been distributed in 2.25 Advanced Fluid Mechanics and other courses at MIT since 1992. Cover picture by Pat Keck (Untitled, 1992) Page 3 1 The Physical Basis of DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS Ain A. Sonin Second Edition 2 Copyright © 2001 by Ain A. Sonin Department of Mechanical Engineering MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 First Edition published 1997. Versions of this material have been distributed in 2.25 Advanced Fluid Mechanics and other courses at MIT since 1992. Cover picture by Pat Keck (Untitled, 1992) 3 Contents 1. Introduction 1 2. Physical Quantities and Equations 4 2.1 Physical properties 4 2.2 Physical quantities and base quantities 5 2.3 Unit and numerical value 10 2.4 Derived quantities, dimension, and dimensionless quantities 12 2.5 Physical equations, dimensional homogeneity, and physical constants 15 2.6 Derived quantities of the second kind 19 2.7 Systems of units 22 2.8 Recapitulation 27 3. Dimensional Analysis 29 3.1 The steps of dimensional analysis and Buckingham’s Pi-Theorem 29 Step 1: The independent variables 29 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 30 Step 3: Dimensional variables 32 Step 4: The end game and Buckingham’s ?-theorem 32 3.2 Example: Deformation of an elastic sphere striking a wall 33 Step 1: The independent variables 33 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 35 Step 3: Dimensionless similarity parameters 36 Step 4: The end game 37 3.2 On the utility of dimensional analysis and some difficulties and questions that arise in its application 37 Similarity 37 Out-of-scale modeling 38 Dimensional analysis reduces the number of variables and minimizes work. 38 Page 4 1 The Physical Basis of DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS Ain A. Sonin Second Edition 2 Copyright © 2001 by Ain A. Sonin Department of Mechanical Engineering MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 First Edition published 1997. Versions of this material have been distributed in 2.25 Advanced Fluid Mechanics and other courses at MIT since 1992. Cover picture by Pat Keck (Untitled, 1992) 3 Contents 1. Introduction 1 2. Physical Quantities and Equations 4 2.1 Physical properties 4 2.2 Physical quantities and base quantities 5 2.3 Unit and numerical value 10 2.4 Derived quantities, dimension, and dimensionless quantities 12 2.5 Physical equations, dimensional homogeneity, and physical constants 15 2.6 Derived quantities of the second kind 19 2.7 Systems of units 22 2.8 Recapitulation 27 3. Dimensional Analysis 29 3.1 The steps of dimensional analysis and Buckingham’s Pi-Theorem 29 Step 1: The independent variables 29 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 30 Step 3: Dimensional variables 32 Step 4: The end game and Buckingham’s ?-theorem 32 3.2 Example: Deformation of an elastic sphere striking a wall 33 Step 1: The independent variables 33 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 35 Step 3: Dimensionless similarity parameters 36 Step 4: The end game 37 3.2 On the utility of dimensional analysis and some difficulties and questions that arise in its application 37 Similarity 37 Out-of-scale modeling 38 Dimensional analysis reduces the number of variables and minimizes work. 38 4 An incomplete set of independent quantities may destroy the analysis 40 Superfluous independent quantities complicate the result unnecessarily 40 On the importance of simplifying assumptions 41 On choosing a complete set of independent variables 42 The result is independent of how one chooses a dimensionally independent subset 43 The result is independent of the type of system of units 43 4. Dimensional Analysis in Problems Where Some Independent Quantities Have Fixed Values 45 Cited References 49 Other Selected References 51 Acknowledgements My thanks to Mark Bathe, who volunteered to perform the computation for the elastic ball. This work was begun with support from the Gordon Fund. Page 5 1 The Physical Basis of DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS Ain A. Sonin Second Edition 2 Copyright © 2001 by Ain A. Sonin Department of Mechanical Engineering MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 First Edition published 1997. Versions of this material have been distributed in 2.25 Advanced Fluid Mechanics and other courses at MIT since 1992. Cover picture by Pat Keck (Untitled, 1992) 3 Contents 1. Introduction 1 2. Physical Quantities and Equations 4 2.1 Physical properties 4 2.2 Physical quantities and base quantities 5 2.3 Unit and numerical value 10 2.4 Derived quantities, dimension, and dimensionless quantities 12 2.5 Physical equations, dimensional homogeneity, and physical constants 15 2.6 Derived quantities of the second kind 19 2.7 Systems of units 22 2.8 Recapitulation 27 3. Dimensional Analysis 29 3.1 The steps of dimensional analysis and Buckingham’s Pi-Theorem 29 Step 1: The independent variables 29 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 30 Step 3: Dimensional variables 32 Step 4: The end game and Buckingham’s ?-theorem 32 3.2 Example: Deformation of an elastic sphere striking a wall 33 Step 1: The independent variables 33 Step 2: Dimensional considerations 35 Step 3: Dimensionless similarity parameters 36 Step 4: The end game 37 3.2 On the utility of dimensional analysis and some difficulties and questions that arise in its application 37 Similarity 37 Out-of-scale modeling 38 Dimensional analysis reduces the number of variables and minimizes work. 38 4 An incomplete set of independent quantities may destroy the analysis 40 Superfluous independent quantities complicate the result unnecessarily 40 On the importance of simplifying assumptions 41 On choosing a complete set of independent variables 42 The result is independent of how one chooses a dimensionally independent subset 43 The result is independent of the type of system of units 43 4. Dimensional Analysis in Problems Where Some Independent Quantities Have Fixed Values 45 Cited References 49 Other Selected References 51 Acknowledgements My thanks to Mark Bathe, who volunteered to perform the computation for the elastic ball. This work was begun with support from the Gordon Fund. 5 Francis Bacon (1561-1628) 1 : “I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as the study of Truth; as having a nimble mind and versatile enough to catch the resemblance of things (which is the chief point), and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtle differences...” “Think things, not words.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955) 2 : “… all knowledge starts from experience and ends in it. Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality." Percy W. Bridgman (1882-1961) 3 : “...what a man means by a term is to be found by observing what he does with it, not by what he says about it.” 1 Catherine Drinker Bowen, 1963 2 Einstein, 1933 3 Bridgman, 1950Read More

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