Lesson 1, Topic 1
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What are the transport phenomena?

Abdulaziz July 5, 2020
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The subject of transport phenomena includes three closely related topics: fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and mass transfer. Fluid dynamics involves the transport of momentum, heat transfer deals with the transport of energy, and mass transfer is concerned with the transport of mass of various chemical species. These three transport phenomena should,
at the introductory level, be studied together for the following reasons:

  • They frequently occur simultaneously in industrial, biological, agricultural, and meteorological problems; in fact, the occurrence of any one transport process by itself is the exception rather than the rule.
  • The basic equations that describe the three transport phenomena are closely related. The similarity of the equations under simple conditions is the basis for solving problems “by analogy.”
  • The mathematical tools needed for describing these phenomena are very similar. Although it is not the aim of this book to teach mathematics, the student will be required to review various mathematical topics as the development unfolds. Learning how to use mathematics may be a very valuable by-product of studying transport phenomena.
  • The molecular mechanisms underlying the various transport phenomena are very closely related. All materials are made up of molecules, and the same molecular motions and interactions are responsible for viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion.

The main aim of this course is to give a balanced overview of the field of transport phenomena, present the fundamental equations of the subject, and illustrate how to use them to solve problems. There are many excellent treatises on fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and mass transfer. In addition, there are many research and review journals devoted to these individual subjects and even to specialized sub fields. The reader who has mastered the contents of this course should find it possible to consult the treatises and journals and go more deeply into other aspects of the theory, experimental techniques, empirical correlations, design methods, and applications. That is, this book should not be regarded as the complete presentation of the subject, but rather as a stepping stone to a wealth of knowledge that lies beyond.