Difference Between Cycle and Flow

Cycle and flow are two different terms that are often used to indicate the process or movement of a course of action. Whereby, a Cycle is a cyclic process that repeats an action in the same manner; Flow is a process of an action that runs in a continuous manner. 

Cycle vs Flow 

The main difference between Cycle and Flow is that the Cycle is referred to the movement or process that repeats itself after a certain point; prevalent in arts and science, whereas, flow is referred to the movement or process that continues constantly throughout the end; observed in the subjects of fluid or liquid. 

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In science and economics subjects, a cycle is defined as something that repeats its sequence of events after every period of time. Mostly, the cycle concept is prevalent in science subjects, such as the water cycle, biogeochemical cycle, the rock cycle, and so on. For instance, the water cycle depicts the continuous movement of water from the earth to the atmosphere. 

On the other hand, Flow is used to define the fluid motion that moves smoothly, steadily and continuously, till it reaches its destination; unless and until no obstruction is induced to the movement. Moreover, it is a study in physics and engineering, relating to the motion of the fluid subjected to different unbalanced forces. 

Comparison Table Between Cycle and Flow

Parameters of ComparisonCycleFlow
MeaningA cycle is a process that happens repetitively of events, in the same manner, course of action.  Flow is a process of the movement of an action that happens in a continuous manner.
Etymology The cycle was invented by Greeks as ‘Kyklos’ in the late 14th century. Originated from the old English in the 15th century as Flown. 
TypesThere are numerous types of cycles such as the water cycle, nitrogen-sulfur cycle, etc. Flow has various types as traffic flow, water flow, flow chart, turbulent flow, and so on. 
PurposeA cycle is mainly referred to in astronomy, economics, mathematics, electronics, and physicsFlow is used to observe the liquid or fluid form. 
DirectionThe cycle goes round like a circle, repeating its course of action.Flow is a continuous movement in one direction.

What is Cycle?

The concept of a cycle is used in astronomical science and economics to describe something that repeats its sequence of events in the same order and at the same intervals over any time. The concept of a cycle is typically observed in various subjects, such as the water cycle, menstrual cycle, the biogeochemical cycle, life cycle, and so on. The word cycle was in use since the fourteenth century.

It was initially derived from the Latin word ‘Cyclus’, and then from the Greek word ‘kyklos’; citing the circular body, basically a wheel. However, it is also referred to as a circular or spiral arrangement, and commonly a vehicle named bicycle. As a result, the word cycle was predominantly used to define a movement or process that repeats its own sequence of events from time to time.

The water cycle is an example of how water continuously flows from the earth to the atmosphere. Furthermore, the most common example of a cycle is the seasons of a year; where summer is followed by fall, spring, and winter. Subsequently, this pattern of seasons continues every year. While, in astronomical physics, the rotation of the earth around the sun is interpreted as a cycle; since it repeats its movement over a period of time. 

What is Flow?

Meanwhile, the word Flow is used to define the fluid motion, an inexorable flow that continues smoothly, continuously, and without interruption, until it reaches its destination. Moreover, fluid dynamics is a study in physics and engineering about the motion or flow of fluids under the influence of unbalanced forces. It is often used in context to define the smoothness of the liquid or fluid inside a container or stream that continues to move along. One fine example is the movement of a stream or the movement of a certain type of liquid or fluid from one container to another. 

The word Flow was in use since the fifteenth century. Originally, it was from the Old English word Flowan; meaning rinse, wash. Following that, it was then descended from the Proto-Indo-European word pleu; eventually tending to the meaning of the word flow.

According to fluid dynamics(study of the flow of liquids or gases), turbidity, viscosity, density, and compressibility are the four most important characteristics of a flow. Besides, the nature of the fluid, the speed of the fluid, and the shape of the container are the factors that are taken into consideration while studying the flow of a liquid in a container. 

Main Differences Between Cycle and Flow

  1. A cycle is a process of repetition of a course of action, whereas a flow is referred to a movement of action in a continuous manner. 
  2. A cycle is introduced in the late 14th century by greek as ‘kyklos’; notwithstanding flow was originated from the old English in the 15th century as Flown that means-‘rinse & wash’ and later reinvented as ‘Pleu’ from Proto-Indo-European.
  3. There are many different kinds of cycles, including the water cycle, menstrual cycle, biogeochemical cycle, life cycle, and so on. On the other hand, the flow has different types such as Turbulent flow, fluid flow, liquid flow, blood flow, laminar flow, oscillatory flow, etc.
  4. In astronomy, economics, mathematics, electronics, and physics, the term “cycle” is used frequently. Meanwhile, the term ‘Flow’ is mainly referred to in liquid or fluid form.
  5. The cycle moves in a circular motion, repeating its actions. On the contrary, Flow is a constant movement in one direction is referred to as flow.

Conclusion

Certain incidents occur after a given amount of time and repeat themselves regularly. As a result, these occurrences are cyclical, with a cycle that can be defined in terms of events and time. Whereby, the cycle is termed in many subjects such as the water cycle, the biogeochemical cycle, engine cycle, life cycle, and many more.

While Flow is a phrase that refers to unbroken continuity. Flow can be termed to indicate liquid or fluid form and is generally used to say traffic flow or overflow of something. Likewise, the flow has many types such as fluid flow, flow chart, traffic flow, Turbulent flow, fluid flow, liquid flow, blood flow, water flow, laminar flow, oscillatory flow, etc.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/482080/
  2. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/7099752
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