hydraulics, branch of engineering concerned mainly with moving liquids. The term is applied commonly to the study of the mechanical properties of water, other liquids, and even gases when the effects of compressibility are small. Hydraulics can be divided into two areas, hydrostatics and hydrokinetics. Hydrostatics, the consideration of liquids at rest, involves problems of buoyancy and flotation, pressure on dams and submerged devices, and hydraulic presses. The relative incompressibility of liquids is one of its basic principles. Hydrodynamics, the study of liquids in motion, is concerned with such matters as friction and turbulence generated in pipes by flowing liquids, the flow of water over weirs and through nozzles, and the use of hydraulic pressure in machinery.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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