Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

5.1: Introduction

This chapter presents a discussion on the control volume and will be focused on the conservation of the mass. When the fluid system moves or changes, one wants to find or predict the velocities in the system. The main target of such analysis is to find the value of certain variables. This kind of analysis is reasonable and it referred to in the literature as the Lagrangian Analysis. This name is in honored J. L. Langrange (1736–1813) who formulated the equations of motion for the moving fluid particles. Even though this system looks reasonable, the Lagrangian system turned out to be difficult to solve and to analyze. This method applied and used in very few cases. The main difficulty lies in the fact that every particle has to be traced to its original state. Leonard Euler (1707–1783) suggested an alternative approach. In Euler's approach the focus is on a defined point or a defined volume. This methods is referred as Eulerian method.

Fig. 5.1 Control volume and system before and after motion.

The Eulerian method focuses on a defined area or location to find the needed information. The use of the Eulerian methods leads to a set differentiation equations that is referred to as Navier–Stokes equations which are commonly used. These differential equations will be used in the later part of this book. Additionally, the Eulerian system leads to integral equations which are the focus of this part of the book. The Eulerian method plays well with the physical intuition of most people. This methods has its limitations and for some cases the Lagrangian is preferred (and sometimes the only possibility). Therefore a limited discussion on the Lagrangian system will be presented (later version). Lagrangian equations are associated with the system while the Eulerian equation are associated with the control volume. The difference between the system and the control volume is shown in Figure 5.1. The green lines in Figure 5.1 represent the system. The red dotted lines are the control volume. At certain time the system and the control volume are identical location. After a certain time, some of the mass in the system exited the control volume which are marked " \(a\) '' in Figure . The material that remained in the control volume is marked as " \(b\) ''. At the same time, the control gains some material which is marked as " \(c\) ''.


  • Dr. Genick Bar-Meir. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later or Potto license.