Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saving the Environment with Bernoulli's Equation

In my class called Water, we learned how Bernoulli’s equation can be used to predict where pollution in groundwater will travel based on relative pressures in an aquifer. The forces acting on the groundwater are gravity, atmospheric pressure, and molecular attraction from surface tension. Scientists can drill and observation well down to the water table of an aquifer and predict how high the water will rise by considering these forces acting on the water. Bernoulli’s equation can be rewritten and simplified for this special case by putting all variables in terms of length or height. In addition, the kinetic energy term is ignored because groundwater flow is generally very slow. The result is:
                                                           z+ (P/ρwg)=h

where  P/ρwg= pressure head, z= elevation head, and h= total head (see picture)

Scientists can then solve for the relative pressures at various locations, and use it to find where the most pollutants will be located - areas of low pressure, since liquids move from high pressure to low pressure.

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