Bernoulli's principle, physical principle formulated by Daniel Bernoulli that states that as the speed of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. The phenomenon described by Bernoulli's principle has many practical applications; it is employed in the carburetor and the atomizer, in which air is the moving fluid, and in the aspirator, in which water is the moving fluid. In the first two devices air moving through a tube passes through a constriction, which causes an increase in speed and a corresponding reduction in pressure. As a result, liquid is forced up into the air stream (through a narrow tube that leads from the body of the liquid to the constriction) by the greater atmospheric pressure on the surface of the liquid. In the aspirator air is drawn into a stream of water as the water flows through a constriction. Bernoulli's principle can be explained in terms of the law of conservation of energy (see conservation laws, in physics). As a fluid moves from a wider pipe into a narrower pipe or a constriction, a corresponding volume must move a greater distance forward in the narrower pipe and thus have a greater speed. At the same time, the work done by corresponding volumes in the wider and narrower pipes will be expressed by the product of the pressure and the volume. Since the speed is greater in the narrower pipe, the kinetic energy of that volume is greater. Then, by the law of conservation of energy, this increase in kinetic energy must be balanced by a decrease in the pressure-volume product, or, since the volumes are equal, by a decrease in pressure.

*The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,* 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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