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Airspeed is the speed of air relative to an aircraft. Is there a general term for this that applies to any object in any fluid (that is in motion)? For example, if a car were to be driving 10 mph into a 20mph headwind, air would be moving past it at 30mph. Saying that the car has an airspeed of 30mph seems appropriate. But what about a fish swimming in a river?

  • For something like a fish, which is moving in the fluid rather than the other way around, I'd tend to use "velocity relative to the fluid" or some such, if simple "speed" seems insufficient. – Hot Licks Dec 18 '15 at 23:04
  • Have you checked to see if pilots use the word airspeed in the way you are? – michael_timofeev Dec 19 '15 at 0:36
  • This is called relative velocity in engineering and can be applied to any body moving relative to any fluid whether it's air or water or other. – Jim Dec 20 '15 at 19:21
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This is called relative velocity in engineering and can be applied to any body moving relative to any fluid whether it's air or water or other.

  • Relative velocity is a pretty generalized, form what I am reading, it applies to more than just objects in fluids, but any two frames of reference. I suppose I am looking for a term that assumes the object in a fluid, using the object as a fixed frame of reference. I will take it. – Pete Dec 24 '15 at 2:10
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You may refer to flow velocity.

Example: Thanks to their abrasion resistance, the pipes remain fully protected even when the flow velocity of water containing solids is very high.

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I haven't heard a specific word, but I have heard modifiers used. 10 knots with the current 10 knots against the current

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