Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In a table fan, the blades move around in circular way and we feel air/wind when sitting on front of it. How does this happen?

share|cite|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The blades are at an angle. As the blade moves down it hits an air molecule and the air molecule "bounces off" toward you.
It's just like hitting a ball in tennis/baseball

share|cite|improve this answer
This suggests a violation of no-slip at the fan edge. It is better to state it in term of air-currents reflecting, rather than atoms, because the atoms are not moving individually. – Ron Maimon Oct 20 '11 at 6:05
If atoms don't move how does a fan distribute a smell accross the room? – Martin Beckett Oct 20 '11 at 13:00
The atoms which are directly in contact with the fan don't move. The atoms which "bounce off" the fan are bouncing off the layer of air stuck to the fan. This is the continuum approximation and it is valid unless you have a shock-wave super-fan. See also this:… – Ron Maimon Oct 21 '11 at 2:11

Due to the rotational motion of the blades a pressure variation is created and the air blows.

share|cite|improve this answer
Hello and Welcome to Stack Exchange. As it stand, your answer has very little value, since it doesn't explain anything. How is the pressure variation created? What is the precise idea? Please include more information! – Martin Dec 7 '15 at 9:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.