Bernoulli’s Principle: The Science Behind Fluid Behavior and Lift Creation

What is Bernoulli’s Principle? (FAA‑H‑8083‑25)

Bernoulli’s Principle—The pressure of a fluid (liquid or gas) decreases at points where the speed of the fluid increases. In the case of airflow, high speed flow is associated with low pressure and low speed flow with high pressure. The airfoil of an aircraft is designed to increase the velocity of the airflow above its surface, thereby decreasing pressure above the airfoil. Simultaneously, the impact of the air on the lower surface of the airfoil increases the pressure below. This combination of pressure decrease above and increase below produces lift.

Bernoulli’s Principle is a fundamental principle that explains how fluids in motion behave. It states that as the speed of a fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. Conversely, as the speed of a fluid decreases, the pressure within the fluid increases. This principle is important in aeronautics as it explains how wings create lift. As air flows over an airfoil (wing), the shape of the wing causes the air to increase in speed over the top of the wing and decrease in speed underneath the wing. This difference in speed creates a difference in pressure, lower pressure above the wing and higher pressure below the wing, which results in lift. Bernoulli’s Principle is also essential in other areas of physics, such as understanding the behavior of pipes, pumps, and jet engines.

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