Can You Explain Bernoulli's Principle?


Quick Answer

Bernoulli's principle says that the faster a flowing gas or liquid moves, the lower its pressure. Conversely, if the speed of the gas or liquid decreases, the pressure increases.

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Full Answer

One example of this is how water moves faster through the narrower portion of a pipe or conduit than through the wider portion. As the water gains speed, its pressure decreases. However, this is only true if the water is kept at the same level.

Scientists and engineers have used Bernoulli's principle to design aircraft. An airplane wing is shaped so that the speed of the air that flows over its top is more than the speed of the air below the wing. This means that the pressure of the air below the wing is more than the pressure on its top surface. Therefore, the air provides an upward force that helps keep the plane aloft.

Other things that use the Bernoulli principle are carburetors found in motor vehicles, pitot tubes in airplanes and even a curve ball. In a curve ball, the speed of the air is greater on one side of the ball than the other. Therefore, the pressure makes the ball curve away from its original course.

The principle was first laid down by the Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli.

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