Select Academic Year:     2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022
First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


This course provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of fluid dynamics as applied to geological processes.
The acquired knowledge will allow using analog models describing geological phenomena, deriving key parameters controlling the dynamics of geological fluids, transport and settling of particles.
It also allows acquisition of the ability of designing, setting up and performing simple fluid dynamics experiments in laboratory.

Nonspecific learning objectives are:
Being able to consult, derive information and learn new concepts from scientific literature, written in english and italian
Being able to comunicate efficiently information and ideas, discuss problems and propose solutions during and after experimental activity
Being able to learn new techniques and applications


Mathematics and physics necessary for obtaining a bachelor degree in Geology (algebra, linear equations, derivatives, integrals, scalars and vectors, phyiscal quantities describing mechanics and dynamics processes)
Knowledge of the main geological processes involving fluids (tectonics, transport and sedimentation, flows of fluids in the crust).


Basic definitions. Kinetic theory of gas. Dispersions, Emulsions, suspensions. The continuum hypothesis. Fluid properties, Density, viscosity, Surface tension.
Self-similarity e scaling. Dimensions of physical quantities, dimensional homogeneity. Buckingham theorem. Dimensional analysis. Non dimensional quantities. Discussion on main parameters: Reynolds, Froude, Weber, Mach, Richardson, Nusselt, Rayleigh number.
Pressure and stress, equation of motion, buoyancy.
Introduction to flow equations. The principles of conservation of mass, momentum and energy, Euler, Navier Stokes equations.
Boundary layers, drag forces. Motion of particles in a fluid.
Granular flow. Friction coefficient, rheology of granular media. Coulomb law. Particle segregation, Repose angle. Natural examples, avalanches, snow avalanches.
Basic flow geometries, Multiphase flow, seepage flow and permeability.
Gravity currents.

Quantification of variation of viscosity and density of a 2- component liquid with progressive mixing
Characterization of the rheology of a fluid
Viscous flow along a plane
Permeability of granular layers

Teaching Methods

3 CFU of lecturing (24 hours) and 3 CFU of experimental laboratory

In case of COVID-19 emergency, teaching could be done in streaming. Laboratory acitivities coudl be replaced accordingly to current rules or performed in shifts.

Verification of learning

Course assessment will be done throughout the entire class and will be based on a series of experiments performed by the students, and the associated reports. The nore will be calculated as the mean of the notes associated to each activity. Final marks will be in 30th. The assessment will be based on :
1) ability of performing the assigned experiments (ability in designing, setting up and executing the experiments, ability in quantifying measurements errors and errors of derived parameters)
2) Clarity and correctness of the laboratory notebook
3) Ability in deriving empirical laws from the experiment
4) ability of justyfying the empirical laws based on theoretical considerations
5) Structure and correctness of the reports
A 18/30 note certifies acquisition of minimum learning objectives
a 30/30 note certifies acquisition of all learning objectives
a 30/30 cum laude note certifies acquisition of all learning objectives and the acquired ability of connecting them with all the main geological processes


Handouts, and all documents distributed during classes.
Selected chapters of these books:
Munson, Okishi, Huebschm Rothmayer (2020) Meccanica dei fluidi. Edizioni Città Studi, MIlano, 657 pag.
Leeder, Perz-Arducea,(2006) Phyiscal processes in Earth and evironmental Sciences. Blackwell, Oxford, 321 pag.

More Information

Teaching material (slides, notes, instructions, exercises) will be shared on line before each class on the course page on the elearning platform.
Students not attending classes should acquire all the learning objectives and perform at least two of the experiments planned. Assessment will be based on experiments report and on an oral exam.

The university of Cagliari has specific aids for students with learning disabilities. For more info:

Part time, working students are invited to discuss with the teacher about further activities necessary for replacing attendance to classes.

Questionnaire and social

Share on: