• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Kial Stewart
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course PHYS6034
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

Fluid flows are widespread in nature and everyday life. The study of fluid behaviour is a fundamental and evolving field that spans major areas in science. Consequently, this course is designed to be of interest and relevance for all students majoring in Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, or physical streams of marine or climate science, including those enrolled in the Bachelor of Global and Ocean Science program.  It aims to establish fundamental physical concepts in fluid dynamics, and to apply these concepts to a range of practical examples. At the conclusion of this course students will have an appreciation of a wide variety of fluid phenomena, including areas of current research, and the techniques that can be used to investigate and model flow behaviour.

The course begins with an overview of the field of fluid mechanics, and description of the physics governing fluid flow.  These physical principles are applied to a number of examples, including free-surface flows, aerodynamics, stratified flows and gravity waves, convection and heat transfer, and fluid instability.  The course includes the dynamics of buoyancy-driven flows, and the effects of planetary rotation, allowing investigation into the circulation of the oceans and the atmosphere.  The physics of the greenhouse effect and ocean-atmosphere coupling, which lead to climate dynamics, are also included.

A course highlight is a series of experiments in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

 PHYS3034 Honours Pathway Option

Students taking this advanced option will identify an area of the course syllabus of interest to them and undertake an individual project that extends the material covered in the course. This project should be developed in consultation with the Course Lecturers, and possibilities include completion of a reading project or a laboratory experiment and report. Assessment of the project will be undertaken in a manner appropriate to the project (for example, a written report or essay, or a short talk) and agreed to with the students concerned. Students undertaking the HPO option may elect either to substitute their project mark for up to two (of the four) individual assignments or for one of the normal laboratory experiments and accompanying report (i.e. to a total of 10% of the final grade). The assessment weighting for the exam will remain the same.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand a range of fluid flows in terms of the fundamental physical principles and equations that govern them.

2. Understand how common theoretical, laboratory and numerical techniques can be used to investigate fluid flows.

3. Recognise common applications of fluid dynamics concepts in geophysical, environmental, physics and engineering contexts.

4. Develop their problem-solving and physical modelling ability for a range of flows.

5. Develop their ability in technical scientific writing.

Indicative Assessment

Indicative assessment: Assessment will be based on:

  • Four assignments developing problem-solving and modelling skills (20% in total; LO 1-4)
  • Technical report on each of the four laboratory experiments, (40% in total; LO 1-5)
  • Final examination (40%; LO 1-4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


A total of 24 lectures, 12 interactive tutorials and 12 hours of laboratory work.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed PHYS2013 or PHYS2016 or PHYS2017 or PHYS2020 or MATH2305. incompatible with PHYS6034




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
2595 19 Feb 2018 27 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person

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