Journal Article Detail Page

written by Claudia Schäfle and Christian H. Kautz
This article focuses on an investigation of student thinking about steady-state pipe flow of an incompressible fluid. About 250 undergraduate engineering students were given a test consisting of two hydrodynamics questions, combining multiple-choice format with subsequent open-ended explanations. There is substantial evidence that students have difficulty applying and prioritizing the two basic principles of mass conservation (expressed in the continuity equation) and energy conservation (i.e., Bernoulli's equation). When faced with questions that involve gravity, dissipative effects ("friction"), or a visible pressure drop, a considerable number of students did not invoke the continuity equation in situations where applying it is a necessary step for arriving at the correct answer. Instead, even after lecture instruction on this topic, many of the first-year students based their answers on ill-supported assumptions about local pressures. Some of them used formal arguments from a simplified Bernoulli equation ("lower pressure means higher velocity"), while others based their answer on intuitive arguments ("higher pressure leads to higher velocity"). We also found reasoning based on analogies to single-particle motion ("flow velocity decreases when flowing upwards or friction is present"). Contrary to other researchers, we did not see any evidence for the hypothesis that students think of water as a compressible fluid. Instead, students' answers often indicate a lack of understanding of the conservation of mass or its implications for incompressible fluids or of the role that this principle plays in the context of fluid flow. In addition, our data indicate that some students have more general difficulties, such as applying equations containing multiple variables.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 010147
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Achievement
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
= Formative Assessment
- Communication
= Writing
- Problem Solving
= Processes
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
Fluid Mechanics
- Dynamics of Fluids
= Bernoulli's Principle
= Equation of Continuity
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Scientific Reasoning
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147
Keywords:
fluid dynamics, fluid flow
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 10, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 25, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 29, 2021
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AIP Format
C. Schäfle and C. Kautz, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (1), 010147 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147).
AJP/PRST-PER
C. Schäfle and C. Kautz, Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (1), 010147 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147>.
APA Format
Schäfle, C., & Kautz, C. (2021, June 29). Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 17(1), 010147. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147
Chicago Format
Schäfle, Claudia, and Christian Kautz. "Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17, no. 1, (June 29, 2021): 010147, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147 (accessed 27 May 2024).
MLA Format
Schäfle, Claudia, and Christian Kautz. "Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17.1 (2021): 010147. 27 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Claudia Schäfle and Christian Kautz", Title = {Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {17}, Number = {1}, Pages = {010147}, Month = {June}, Year = {2021} }
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%A Claudia Schäfle %A Christian Kautz %T Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli's principle versus the continuity equation %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 1 %D June 29, 2021 %P 010147 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147 %O application/pdf

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%0 Journal Article %A Schäfle, Claudia %A Kautz, Christian %D June 29, 2021 %T Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli's principle versus the continuity equation %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 1 %P 010147 %8 June 29, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.010147

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Student reasoning in hydrodynamics: Bernoulli’s principle versus the continuity equation:

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