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CODE 60397
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The HYDRAULICS course is the first course in Fluid Mechanics that students encounter as part of the Civil and Environmental Engineering degree programme. The course is annual and spread over two semesters for a total of 120 hours and provides 12 credits



The course aims to provide the fundamentals of the motion of pressurised and free-surface fluid flows and the tools for calculating steady-state motion in river channels, flood wave propagation and sediment transport.


The course aims to provide the student with the following operational skills:

  • Evaluation of force exerted by fluids under conditions of rest and motion.
  • Mass and momentum balances.
  • Calculation and verification of simple hydraulic systems.
  • Calculation of stationary free-surface current profiles.

The aim of the course is to provide the theoretical tools necessary to understand the fundamental concepts of fluid motion and, at the same time, to translate these concepts into application tools that enable the student to acquire the above operational skills.


The course consists of 120 lecture hours, of which 72 theory and 48 practical hours, equally divided between I and II semesters. The concepts that are gradually developed in the theory hours are used during the practice hours for application to cases of engineering interest.

Lessons will be delivered in the classroom.

Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Professor Federico Scarpa (  ), the Polytechnic School's disability liaison.


Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics - Fluid definition and its properties. Dimensional analysis and Buckingham's theorem. the fluid continuum. Forces acting on a fluid continuum. The state of tension in a fluid at rest. The equation of state. Interface phenomena. The state of tension in a fluid in motion. Material derivative and local derivative, transport theorem. The principle of conservation of mass and momentum in global form. State of tension in a fluid at rest, cardinal equations of statics, static thrusts on plane surfaces and humps. State of tension in a fluid in motion, the stress tensor. Ideal fluid scheme and Bernoulli's theorem.

Fluids at rest: hydrostatics - Pressure distribution in an incompressible fluid and in a barotropic fluid. Evaluation of thrusts exerted on flat surfaces and humps. Buoyancy and stability of submerged and floating bodies.

Fluids in motion: the flow pattern - Fluid currents: definition and characteristic quantities. The principle of conservation of mass and momentum for a current.

Pressure currents - The calculation of distributed resistances in steady and uniform motion pressure currents. Concentrated energy dissipation in pressure currents. Design and verification of simple hydraulic systems. References to hydraulic machines. Forces exerted by jets on bodies of complex shape. Hints on varied motion in pressurised currents.

Free surface currents - calculation of distributed resistances in steady and uniform motion currents. The possible states of free surface currents, the critical depth. Stationary and non-uniform currents, the profile equation. Localised phenomena: hydraulic prominence, inlet, outlet, section narrowings. Notes on wave propagation in free surface currents, the kinematic wave model.


  • Course handouts (available on aulaWeb together with additional material).
  • Marchi-Rubatta, Meccanica dei fluidi principi e applicazioni, Utet, 1981 (in italian). 
  • Cengel, Y. E Cimbala J., Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications, Mc Grow Hill.
  • Mossa, Petrillo, Idraulica, Zanichelli (in italian)



Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam consists of two tests, which focus on the application topics addressed in the first and second semester of the course, respectively. Both tests consist of a written and an oral part. The student accesses the respective oral part after having achieved a score of at least 15/30 in the written test concerning the first semester topics and 18/32 in the one concerning the second semester topics.


During the course there are four written midterm tests (two per semester). Each intermediate test is considered passed if the student has achieved a score of at least 15/32. The student is exempt from taking the written test pertaining to a semester if she/he has passed both the midterm examinations for the semester with an average mark of at least 18/32.


The final mark is determined as the arithmetic mean of the marks achieved in the two parts. ‘Laudum’ is attributed only in case of achievement of the same in both parts.


The written tests, both intermediate and final, focus on application exercises relating to the topics covered in the semester, with particular reference to the topics developed during the exercise hours and the operational skills stated in the training objectives. The written tests relating to the first part of the course include exercises relating to the evaluation of thrust exerted by fluids at rest, mass and momentum balances and the calculation and verification of simple hydraulic systems. The written tests relating to the second part of the course include exercises relating to the qualitative and quantitative determination of stationary motion profiles in free-surface currents. The final oral examination, which the student accesses after passing the written tests, is aimed at ascertaining the understanding of the theoretical knowledge acquired by the student. The examination thus focuses on the formulation of the problem of fluid motion and the consequent demonstrations, which allow the formalisation and derivation of the application tools already used in the written tests.

Working students and students with certified DSA, disabilities or other special educational needs are advised to contact the lecturer at the beginning of the course in order to agree on teaching and examination methods that, while respecting the teaching objectives, take into account individual learning methods.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Clean water and sanitation
Clean water and sanitation
Affordable and clean energy
Affordable and clean energy
Climate action
Climate action
Life on land
Life on land