Bernoulli's significance in fluid mechanics
Bernoulli's Significance in Fluid Mechanics
Daniel Bernoulli is a member of scientist Bernoulli family. As he had a scientist father, Johann Bernoulli, his father tried to manage his son's life, so did Johann's father. But like Johann, Daniel has resisted to accept his father's thoughts. But after spending a considerably enough time with his father, Daniel has become really interested in Calculus. But then his father did not want him to become a mathematician, then he studied medicine for a couple of years. Although he was less interested in Mathematics, he never gave it up. English physician William Harvey had an important effect on Daniel's scientific life. When Daniel learnt about his studies about circulation system of animals, Daniel realized that he could merge his two loves: mathematics and medicine. (Quinney, 1997, para. 4)
In his book Johnson states that Newton was the one that raised the sun of fluid mechanics but Bernoulli's works was a big advance and the core of the many thoughts. Euler and other scientists followed Bernoulli's way. He is the first to write a book in fluid mechanics field and his biggest contribution to fluid mechanics was publishing that book Hydrodynamica, with which he introduced the term hydrodynamics to literature, in which he arranged many topics such as jet propulsion, manometers, etc. Most importantly he tried to find a relation between the velocity and the pressure of the fluid flowing in a pipe. Doing so, he used Newton's mechanics and Leibniz's "vis viva" which is "living force" in English. He used kinetic energy formula and treated the fluid such that it has pressure proportional to its height, which was stated centuries ago by Archimedes. According to the original sketch in his book Hydrodynamica, he used a large tank filled with water and a small horizontal pipe attached to it to derive the equation. Calvert (2000, para.2) states that this formula is used when the fluid is incompressible, constant density, or when it is a function of pressure only. His formula simply means that for the flowing fluid, as velocity increases, the pressure drops. This is maybe the most famous equation in fluid mechanics world (1998, pp. 2.7-2.8). Moreover, in the pursuit of finding something more about fluid flow, Daniel discovered how to measure blood pressure by opening a small hole in a pipe and attaching an open ended straw to it. The height in the straw was related to pressure of the fluid. This was a harmful technique to use on people but it is still being used to measure the air speed passing over an aircraft. However, some historians think that there is a mystery about Bernoulli's equation. Because he does not mention it directly in his book or in his work and he never claims the importance of his principle. Nevertheless, he was the first one that found the velocity pressure relation and combined calculus and fluid mechanics. The thing that they all agree is Bernoulli opened the way of other scientists so that his contribution to fluid mechanics can never be neglected.
In conclusion, Bernoulli was the one who let fluid mechanics come to this state. His knowledge about mathematics and medicine helped him a lot to find his equation. It is clear that he led other scientist to contribute to fluid mechanics and his equation still holds. Although it cannot be used in all cases it is one of the basic equations in fluid mechanics books. Some may think that Bernoulli's equation may not be his but it can be said that he was the founder of velocity pressure relation and he is the one who inspired others about fluid mechanics with his book Hydrodynamica.