ENCN446-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Fluid Mechanics of Built Systems

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Pipeline unsteady flow; pipe networks; ocean waves; coastal engineering; time and frequency domain modelling.

Fluid Mechanics in the Built Environment is an elective course on fluid mechanics in the final year of the undergraduate curriculum for civil and natural resources engineering students. This course forms one of the two terminal courses for the fluid mechanics area of study.

The course is split into two self-contained sections that reflect a general philosophy of the course. The course aims to provide undergraduate civil and natural resources engineers with an understanding of complex, unsteady (time-dependent) fluid dynamics in urban systems, with a particular focus on our urban potable water reticulation systems and coastal infrastructure. This is the first course in the curriculum where we are dealing with systems that are inherently unsteady and the (often destructive) forces that eventuates in the exchange between kinetic and potential energies within the systems.

The course will provide you with an understanding of how the steady state design methodologies taught in earlier courses fit within a broader, “real world” context—with consumers, pump operations, wind and ocean current actions imposing continual changes onto our systems and with these systems operating in an unsteady state. You will learn analytical methods that will provide you with the tools to predict and understand unsteady flow, wave theory, wave propagation and reflection as well as system resonance. This new knowledge is built upon the conservation laws of mass, energy and momentum and you will be provided with the skills to predict as well as ultilise unsteady flows in a range of practical applications.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the conclusion of this course, it is expected that;

  • You have an appreciation of the relationship between steady state design and the inherently unsteady fluid systems in the built environment
  • You understand the potentially destructive forces that can result during the interplay between kinetic and potential energies in unsteady state flows
  • You can model (and hence predict) the impact of unsteady flows on associated pipeline and coastal infrastructures. You can extend these concepts to the development of infrastructural protection strategies
  • You can qualitatively describe fluid flow phenomena in such a way that explains fundamental unsteady flow concepts such as wave speed, group/phase velocity, air/water interactions, reflection/transmission and resonance
  • You can apply the conservation laws (mass, momentum and energy) to model unsteady fluid flows, making effective use of control volumes and the integral forms of these laws
  • You can apply the concept of inviscid irrotational flow in fluid mechanics modelling
  • You can analyse ocean wave dynamics and the impact of ocean waves on the coastline.



ENCN444, ENCN445

Timetable Note

This is a lecture and tutorial-based course scheduled for the first semester. The course will be taught in two different formats. The first part of the course (weeks 1-6) will be taught using a flipped classroom format, where detailed recorded lectures of the material you are learning each week are provided on Learn and students are expected to review these in preparation for each week according to the schedule provided on LEARN for the corresponding sections. The second part of the course will be taught in the traditional lecture format where the course material will be delivered during the lecture.

Flipped Classes (Weeks 1 – 6)
In the first half of the course, the lecture slots will be used as interactive sessions where you will attempt problems with the assistance of the lecturer to cement your understanding of the core topics. Note that you are expected to have watched all the recorded lectures for the week prior to these sessions so you are ready to ask questions. These interactive session will contain sections of “formal” lectures as dictated by your understanding of the topics and at your request. You should see these sessions as your opportunity to really understand the topic and to customise the learning experience to suit your personal needs.

The interactive sessions will be in lecture rooms early in term 1 and then shift to the computing laboratory once you have attained the skills needed to model the phenomenon. For tutorials 1-8 You will need to submit your tutorial solutions for marking at the end of each session. There are no required submissions for the later tutorials but the content of the tutorials will form submission components of the Unsteady pipe flow modelling project due on week 7 (see Section 6).

Traditional Lectures (Weeks 7 – 12)
The second half of the course will be presented in a traditional lecture/tutorial format with 3 hours of lectures per week supported by an additional tutorial session per week to help you apply the concepts.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Pedro Lee


Derek Li and Craig McConnochie


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Coastal engineering design project 10%
Coastal engineering research project 10%
Unsteady pipe flow modelling project 15%
Mid term test 30%
Tutorial submissions 5%
Final Exam 30% Final Exam

The assessment for this paper will comprise of different components – there are marks assigned for the submission of the early tutorials (weeks 1-3), three design projects, the midterm test 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 midterm test and the final exam will focus more on the theoretical aspects of the course. The split between these different components and the number of hours you should be spending on each is given on the following table. No hours are assigned to preparation for the tests and exams as they will be part of the independent study hours shown in section 5.

Your solutions must be legible and well presented. Poorly presented material will be given 0 marks. If you suspect there is an error in the test or exam, you must make a reasonable assumption and proceed with the question. If there was indeed an error, you will not be penalised.
Applications for aegrotats or special consideration based on errors in the test/exam questions will not be accepted as the entire cohort is equally affected and any changes must be applied universally—creating no changes in your ranking and hence grade in the course.

1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve an average mark of at least 40% in the test and final exam.

2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If you are unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond your control you should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible. Extensions in cases where it will lead to equity issues for the cohort will not be granted.

3. It is important to remember that copying another person’s work and submitting that work as your own is plagiarism. This practice is unethical and may result in disciplinary action being taken against you. For assignments that are done in groups, it is important that all students in the group play an equal role in completing the assessment.

4. Students repeating the course must undertake all parts of the course.

5. All students are expected to read the department handbook and adhere to the ethical and professional requirements of the department. In particular you must only submit work that are solely your own. https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/media/documents/oexp-engineering/civil-engineering/ CNRE-UG-Handbook---2020-final.pdf

6. In the case of an emergency that affects the whole course, the Course Coordinator, in consultation with the Dean, may change the nature, weighting and timing of assessments, e.g. tests and examination may be replaced with assignments of the same weight or different weight at a different time and/or date (which, under certain circumstances, may be outside the prescribed course dates). The ‘Special consideration’ process will also be used for unforeseen circumstances that adversely affect the academic performance of students individually. The usual grounds for this are described in the UC policy ‘Special Consideration Procedures and Guidelines’, and personal circumstances due to a wider emergency event may also qualify

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Chaudhry, M. Hanif; Applied hydraulic transients ; 2nd ed; Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1987.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,030.00

International fee $5,750.00

* 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 ENCN446 Occurrences

  • ENCN446-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023