If, in following a given path ab (fig. 4), a mass of water a has a constant velocity, the motion is said to be uniform. The kinetic energy of the mass a remains unchanged. If the velocity varies from point to point of the path, the motion is called varying motion. If at a given point a in space, the particles of water always arrive with the same velocity and in the same direction, during any given time, then the motion is termed steady motion. On the contrary, if at the point a the velocity or direction varies from moment to moment the motion is termed unsteady. A river which excavates its own bed is in unsteady motion so long as the slope and form of the bed is changing. It, however, tends always towards a condition in which the bed ceases to change, and it is then said to have reached a condition of permanent regime. No river probably is in absolutely permanent regime, except perhaps in rocky channels. In other cases the bed is scoured more or less during the rise of a flood, and silted again during the subsidence of the flood. But while many streams of a torrential character change the condition of their bed often and to a large extent, in others the changes are comparatively small and not easily observed.
As a stream approaches a condition of steady motion, its regime becomes permanent. Hence steady motion and permanent regime are sometimes used as meaning the same thing. The one, however, is a definite term applicable to the motion of the water, the other a less definite term applicable in strictness only to the condition of the stream bed.
§ 12. Theoretical Notions on the Motion of Water.—The actual motion of the particles of water is in most cases very complex. To simplify hydrodynamic problems, simpler modes of motion are assumed, and the results of theory so obtained are compared experimentally with the actual motions.
Motion in Plane Layers.—The simplest kind of motion in a stream is one in which the particles initially situated in any plane cross section of the stream continue to be found in plane cross sections during the subsequent motion. Thus, if the particles in a thin plane layer ab (fig. 5) are found again in a thin plane layer a′b′ after any interval of time, the motion is said to be motion in plane layers. In such motion the internal work in deforming the layer may usually be disregarded, and the resistance to the motion is confined to the circumference.
Laminar Motion.—In the case of streams having solid boundaries, it is observed that the central parts move faster than the lateral parts. To take account of these differences of velocity, the stream may be conceived to be divided into thin laminae, having cross sections somewhat similar to the solid boundary of the stream, and sliding on each other. The different laminae can then be treated as having differing velocities according to any law either observed or deduced from their mutual friction. A much closer approximation to the real motion of ordinary streams is thus obtained.
Stream Line Motion.—In the preceding hypothesis, all the particles in each lamina have the same velocity at any given cross section of the stream. If this assumption is abandoned, the cross section of the stream must be supposed divided into indefinitely small areas, each representing the section of a fluid filament. Then these filaments may have any law of variation of velocity assigned to them. If the motion is steady motion these fluid filaments (or as they are then termed stream lines) will have fixed positions in space.
Periodic Unsteady Motion.—In ordinary streams with rough boundaries, it is observed that at any given point the velocity varies from moment to moment in magnitude and direction, but that the average velocity for a sensible period (say for 5 or 10 minutes) varies very little either in magnitude or velocity. It has hence been conceived that the variations of direction and magnitude of the velocity are periodic, and that, if for each point of the stream the mean velocity and direction of motion were substituted for the actual more or less varying motions, the motion of the stream might be treated as steady stream line or steady laminar motion.
§ 13. Volume of Flow.—Let A (fig. 6) be any ideal plane surface, of area ω, in a stream, normal to the direction of motion, and let V be the velocity of the fluid. Then the volume flowing through the surface A in unit time is
Thus, if the motion is rectilinear, all the particles at any instant in the surface A will be found after one second in a similar surface A′, at a distance V, and as each particle is followed by a continuous thread of other particles, the volume of flow is the right prism AA′ having a base ω and length V.
If the direction of motion makes an angle θ with the normal to the surface, the volume of flow is represented by an oblique prism AA′ (fig. 7), and in that case
If the velocity varies at different points of the surface, let the surface be divided into very small portions, for each of which the velocity may be regarded as constant. If dω is the area and v, or v cos θ, the normal velocity for this element of the surface, the volume of flow is
as the case may be.
§ 14. Principle of Continuity.—If we consider any completely bounded fixed space in a moving liquid initially and finally filled continuously with liquid, the inflow must be equal to the outflow. Expressing the inflow with a positive and the outflow with a negative sign, and estimating the volume of flow Q for all the boundaries,
In general the space will remain filled with fluid if the pressure at every point remains positive. There will be a break of continuity, if at any point the pressure becomes negative, indicating that the stress at that point is tensile. In the case of ordinary water this statement requires modification. Water contains a variable amount of air in solution, often about one-twentieth of its volume. This air is disengaged and breaks the continuity of the liquid, if the pressure falls below a point corresponding to its tension. It is for this reason that pumps will not draw water to the full height due to atmospheric pressure.
Application of the Principle of Continuity to the case of a Stream.—If A1, A2 are the areas of two normal cross sections of a stream, and V1, V2 are the velocities of the stream at those sections, then from the principle of continuity,
that is, the normal velocities are inversely as the areas of the cross sections. This is true of the mean velocities, if at each section the velocity of the stream varies. In a river of varying slope the velocity varies with the slope. It is easy therefore to see that in parts of large cross section the slope is smaller than in parts of small cross section.
If we conceive a space in a liquid bounded by normal sections at A1, A2 and between A1, A2 by stream lines (fig. 8), then, as there is no flow across the stream lines,
as in a stream with rigid boundaries.
In the case of compressible fluids the variation of volume due to the difference of pressure at the two sections must be taken into account. If the motion is steady the weight of fluid between two cross sections of a stream must remain constant. Hence the weight flowing in must be the same as the weight flowing out. Let p1, p2 be the pressures, v1, v2 the velocities, G1, G2 the weight per cubic foot of fluid, at cross sections of a stream of areas A1, A2. The volumes of inflow and outflow are
and, if the weights of these are the same,
and hence, from (5a) § 9, if the temperature is constant,