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Flow

  • By: Sarah McCormack
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Flow is a term used to describe fluids in motion. Air and water, fluids ubiquitous in our environment, are of great interest to geographers. Air and water behave in similar ways; the main difference between these respective fluids is their density. Water is close to 1,000 times denser than air. The manner in which flow occurs and the resulting behavior of fluids can be subdivided into two categories, turbulent flow and laminar flow. Both the density and the viscosity of the fluid play an important role in determining which form of flow will occur.

Laminar flow is sometimes referred to as streamline flow. This type of flow refers to fluids moving in parallel layers, with no disruption or mixing between the layers. Such a lack of ...

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