He earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physical science in 1877 and 1879, respectively. In 1886, he married Jeanne Jenny. They had eight children, of whom five survived to adulthood.
He did his doctoral thesis "Studies on the Friction of Liquids" under Gabriel Lippmann at the Sorbonne. He also studied under Joseph Boussinesq. He defended his thesis in 1890.
In 1890, he became a professor at the Catholic University of Angers, which is now known as Université Catholique de l'Ouest. He retired in 1933.
Couette is best know for his contributions to rheology and the theory of fluid flow. He designed a concentric cylinder viscometer that he used to accurately measure the viscosity of fluids. He studied the boundary conditions of a fluid and showed that the "no slip" condition was satisfied for the fluids and wall materials tested.
Couette flow is a simple laminar flow known to students of fluid mechanics worldwide.
The Maurice Couette Award is given by the French Group of Rheology (GFR).
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