Viscosity  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to gradual deformation by shear stress or tensile stress.

Viscosity is a property arising from collisions between neighboring particles in a fluid that are moving at different velocities. When the fluid is forced through a tube, the particles which compose the fluid generally move more quickly near the tube's axis and more slowly near its walls: therefore some stress, (such as a pressure difference between the two ends of the tube), is needed to overcome the friction between particle layers to keep the fluid moving. For the same velocity pattern, the stress required is proportional to the fluid's viscosity.

A fluid that has no resistance to shear stress is known as an ideal or inviscid fluid. Zero viscosity is observed only at very low temperatures in superfluids. Otherwise, all fluids have positive viscosity, and are technically said to be viscous or viscid. In common parlance however, a liquid is said to be viscous if its viscosity is substantially greater than that of water; and may be described as mobile if the viscosity is noticeably less than water. A fluid with a relatively high viscosity, for example, pitch, may appear to be a solid.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Viscosity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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