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ideal fluid vs real fluid-difference between ideal fluid and real fluid

This page compares ideal fluid vs real fluid and mentions difference between ideal fluid and real fluid.

Ideal fluid

• Definition: A fluid is said to be ideal if it is assumed to be both incompressible and non viscous.
• Its bulk modulus is infinite.
• ideal fluid has no surface tension.
• Ideal fluid is a substance which is unable to resist internal shear and tensile forces.
• Ideal fluid are imaginary and do no exist in nature.
• They have laminar (smooth)flow as shown in the figure.

ideal fluid vs real fluid-difference between ideal fluid and real fluid

Real fluid

• Definition: A fluid which is compressible, has viscosity and surface tension, is known as real fluid.
• Real fluids implies friction effects.
• They have turbulent flow as shown in the figure.
• Examples: kerosene, petrol, castor oil

Tabular difference between ideal fluid and real fluid

Following table summarizes difference between ideal fluid and real fluid.

characteristic Ideal fluid Real fluid
Compressible No Yes
viscosity No Yes
surface tension No Yes
flow type laminar turbulent
Friction No Yes


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