ENCN441-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Fluid Mechanics of Environmental Systems

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Navier-Stokes equations. Scale and dimensional analysis. Description and modelling of turbulence. Dispersion in rivers. Dynamics of jets and plumes and applications to building ventilation.

Environmental systems have a wide range of interesting fluid mechanics phenomena associated with them. The importance of this branch of fluid mechanics is shown by it being given its own name – environmental fluid mechanics. Environmental fluid mechanics focuses on the interaction of humans with naturally occurring fluid bodies such as the atmosphere, the oceans, rivers, and lakes. Turbulence and buoyancy forces are often important things to consider when trying to understand or model these systems.

Human civilisation is impacted by these fluid bodies in a number of critical ways

 They provide critical resources such as water to drink, air to breathe, and energy for power generation.
 We modify them through engineering interventions such as drawing water for irrigation and the construction of buildings and cities into the atmosphere.
 We use them for disposal of our wastes such as municipal waste discharged into the ocean and smokestacks and chimneys discharging into the atmosphere.

Environmental fluid dynamics is a very broad topic and this course can only provide an introduction to it. However by the completion of the course you should appreciate some of the fundamental characteristics of these natural flows – in particular turbulence, wave motion, and convection– and you should be able to undertake basic modelling of certain aspects of our interactions with them – in particular the modelling of turbulent mixing in the ocean, rivers, atmosphere, and within buildings.

The course is split into three sections. The first section introduces turbulent flow and discusses the problem of turbulent mixing in the environment when the environmental fluid is responsible for the transport and dilution of the effluent – this is known as far field mixing.  The second section introduces the Navier-Stokes equations which govern all fluid motion.  You will learn how to solve the Navier-Stokes equations in simple situations and how to simplify them to understand more complex situations. The third section focuses on mixing in the near field where the environment plays a more minor role in the mixing process and the source discharge characteristics are predominant. It covers the canonical fluid flows referred to as jets and plumes as well as considering the flow and properties of air inside buildings.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

 Provide a description of the various terms within the Navier-Stokes equations and simplify the full set of equations to find a solution to a simple problem. (Washington Accord WA1), (UC EIE)

  Describe important physical concepts of turbulent flow and turbulence modelling. Use this knowledge to model the dispersion of a contaminant by far field mixing. (Washington Accord WA1, 2), (UC EIE)

  Explain the important differences between different free shear flows and the assumptions that are used to model them. (Washington Accord WA1), (UC EIE)

 Model various turbulent free shear flows and utilise these models to design engineered mixing systems. (Washington Accord WA1, 2, WA2), (UC EIE)

 Understand the importance of different cultural values on natural water bodies. . (Washington Accord WA6), (UC BBC, GA)




Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 11:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 15:00 - 16:00 A7
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 A9 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 08:00 - 09:00 Psychology - Sociology 456
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Craig McConnochie


Mark Davidson

Although I do not hold scheduled office hours I encourage you to contact me, either in tutorials or in my office, if you have questions. This is particularly true as you work through each of the three projects. My door is generally open for you to drop in but during some periods I will be spending significant time in the fluids lab and it might be easier to arrange a meeting time by email.


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Disperson project 15% Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 6, 10
Jets and Plume project 15% Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 10
Final exam 60% Learning Objectives: 1, 2
Navier Stokes Assignment 10% Learning Objectives: 1

The assessment for this course will comprise two components – three assignments and the
final exam. The projects aim to provide you with the opportunity to work through substantial practical problems, putting into practice the analysis and design skills you have learnt. The final exam will focus more on the theoretical aspects of the course where the solution of complex practical problems is not possible due to the limited time available. The breakdown of all of the assessment items is listed below.


1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve a mark of at least 40% in the final exam. A student who narrowly fails to achieve 40% in the exam, may still be eligible for a pass in the course if they have performed very well in the internal assessment items.

2. All projects must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.

3. All assignments must be done individually.

4. The use of generative AI, like ChatGPT, is generally prohibited and considered to be academic dishonesty unless there is clear permission granted by the lecturer for a particular assessment item.

Special Considerations
Any student who has been impaired by significant exceptional and/or unforeseeable circumstances that have prevented them from completing any major assessment items, or that have impaired their performance such that the results are not representative of their true level of mastery of the course material, may apply for special consideration through the formal university process. The applicability and academic remedy/action associated with the special consideration process is listed for each assessment item below. Please refer to the University Special Consideration Regulations and Special Consideration Policies and Procedures documents for more information on the acceptable grounds for special consideration and the application process.

Special Consideration for Assignments An extension will be granted for evidence-supported requests. Extensions will typically be for up to one week, but the duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students seeking an extension must contact the course coordinator as soon as possible with evidence of their situation, and preferably before the due date.

Special Consideration for Final Exam

The academic remedy for special consideration on the final exam will be an equivalent alternative assessment. These alternative assessments are only available to students who have approved special consideration applications at an appropriate severity level. If a student has applied for special consideration but the application has not yet been assessed when arrangements are being made for an alternative sitting, they may be permitted to sit the alternative assessment, but the mark will only be applied if the application is approved by the special consideration committee at an appropriate severity level. The mark on these alternative assessments will replace the original mark in the course grade calculation unless the student declines the offer or otherwise does not sit an alternative assessment, in which case the original mark will be used. This does mean that a mark may decrease due to the academic remedy. The alternative assessments for this course will be help on-campus in the week of 8 July 2024. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are available for these dates if you want to benefit from the academic remedy for you special consideration. All communication associated with the arrangements of these equivalent alternative assessments will be conducted using official UC email accounts. The offer to sit an alternative assessment will come with a date and time during the resit week. Students will have a clearly specified amount of time to respond to the offer. Failure to respond will be interpreted as a declined offer.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,059.00

International fee $6,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCN441 Occurrences

  • ENCN441-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024