Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille

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Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille
Born22 April 1797 (1797-04-22)
Died26 December 1869(1869-12-26) (aged 72)
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique
Known forPoiseuille's law
Scientific career
Fieldsphysicist and physiologist

Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille[a] (French: [pwazœj]; 22 April 1797[2] – 26 December 1869) was a French physicist and physiologist.

Poiseuille was born in Paris, France, and he died there on 26 December 1869.

Fluid flow[edit]

From 1815 to 1816 he studied at the École Polytechnique in Paris. He was trained in physics and mathematics. In 1828 he earned his D.Sc. degree with a dissertation entitled Recherches sur la force du coeur aortique. He was interested in the flow of human blood in narrow tubes.

In 1838 he experimentally derived, and in 1840 and 1846 formulated and published, Poiseuille's law (now commonly known as the Hagen–Poiseuille equation, crediting Gotthilf Hagen as well), which applies to laminar flow, that is, non-turbulent flow of liquids through pipes of uniform section, such as blood flow in capillaries and veins. His original formulation for water of 1846[3] little resembles the present-day formulation and is given as:

However it can be transformed in a more amenable form. Rewritting in more modern fashion using SI units gives:

Using the density of water as and and then solving for the pressure difference results in:

The term in parentheses, the constant and the temperature correction, are a function of viscosity. Finally using the viscosity of water at , , allows for viscosity of different fluids to be taken into account resulting in:

The equation in standard fluid dynamics notation is[4][5]




is the pressure loss,
is the length of pipe,
is the dynamic viscosity,
is the volumetric flow rate,
is the radius,
is the diameter,
is the mathematical constant π,
is the average velocity.

The poise, the unit of viscosity in the CGS system, was named after him. Attempts to introduce "poiseuille" as the name of the SI unit Pa·s had little success.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Some sources (including editions of Encyclopædia Britannica[1]) give Poiseuille's full name as Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille. This appears to be a mistake, propagated from Larousse 1874, p. 1271


  1. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 926-.
  2. ^ "Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille (1797–1869)". Auteur – Ressources de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (in French). BNF 10693841k. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  3. ^ Poiseuille, Jean (1846). "Recherches expérimentales sur le mouvement des liquides dans les tubes de très petits diamètres". Mémoires présentés par Divers Savants à l'Académie Royale des sciences de l'Institut de France. Vol. 9. Paris. pp. 433–544.
  4. ^ Kirby 2010.
  5. ^ Bruus 2007.

External links[edit]