A subset of [tag:fluid-dynamics] concerning primarily forces such as lift and drag generated on bodies as they move through gasses or as gasses move through the body (typically air).

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Difference between propeller and fan in pulling force

In the context of producing a pulling force perpendicular to the 'spinning plane' of a propeller/fan, is it correct to say that a propeller mainly achieves it's force by being aerofoils producing ...
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What is the optimal design for a paper airplane? (Or, at least, how can you approach it?)

Having only really known two designs for paper airplanes since my days as a child, one which flies about eight feet and another which flies about ten feet, I have always wondered how people manage to ...
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3answers
884 views

Does wind speed things up or accelerate things?

This question may seem odd, but I can't think of anything better. So I'll go straight to the point. Let's say there's a projectile in air going east, shot at a certain angle, with a certain speed. ...
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Turning an Airplane. What actually causes the circular motion in a banked (roll) turn?

Basically I'm wondering if this is correct. Which essentially says that you need a torque to get the nose of the craft to turn and that this is provided by the rear tail surfaces. After trying to ...
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4answers
980 views

Why is exhaling more forceful than inhaling?

By blowing at pencil, a piece of paper, or another object up to fifty centimeters away, I can cause it to move away from me significantly. But I can't move an object toward myself by inhaling sharply ...
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Why don't Turbojet engines use the De Laval Nozzle? [closed]

Why don't Turbojet engines use the De Laval Nozzle? In fact, it seems that in a typical turbojet, the output nozzle contracts, not expands. As the temperature of exhaust gases is high -- it should ...
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2answers
379 views

Forces on an airfoil

I'm building an airplane (Super Baby Great Lakes) and I'm wondering something about airfoils. In particular (this plane is fabric covered), I'm wondering about the lifting forces on the main wings. ...
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2answers
312 views

Why does the higher pressure of air underneath an aeroplane wing keep it flying?

With aeroplane flight, the wings are shaped so that the air that goes over the top of the wing has to travel faster than the air that goes below the wing. This means that the air below the wing has ...
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2answers
914 views

What do bullet trails really look like?

In the movie The Matrix, during "bullet time" sequences, bullets are shown trailing evenly-spaced refracting blobs: ...
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317 views

Laws of aerodynamics after breaking the sound barrier

my knowledge of physics is not very extensive, so I hope my question isn't too stupid. I know that when (for instance) a plane breaks trough the sound barrier, the laws of the aerodynamics change. ...
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Calculation for force generated by a rotating rectangular blade

When trying to calculate the lift force generated by a simple rectangular blade, I've found the following equation: $$F = \omega^2 L^2 l\rho\sin^2\phi$$ in which $\omega$ is the angular velocity, $L$ ...
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468 views

Local Mach number for an airfoil

I would like to know how to calculate the local Mach number on the upper surface of an airfoil given the ambient temperature, the local velocity on the airfoil surface, the freestream velocity, and ...
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Turbulence forming between the coaches of rail

is there any specific reason why rail coaches are connected by a rubber sheet; not of any other material ? I watched a documentary on trains (Discovery Channel) which said it connecting coaches by ...
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1answer
450 views

Ping pong ball levitation control system question, modeling as a damper? [closed]

I am building a control system to levitate a ping pong ball at a given height in a clear plastic tube using an arduino and implementing PID control. I have to come up with a transfer function... I am ...
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2answers
130 views

How fast can toy helicopters change the turning direction of their propellers?

I saw someone do some tricks with a toy helicopter where he would turn it upside down for a while and it would still stay in the air. I thought it should have crash or at least not fly for very long ...
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3answers
387 views

In-flight damage to a supersonic jet

I'm doing some research for a book I'm writing, and, as the title implies, I'm looking to understand what happens when a supersonic jet sustains in-flight damage. Specifically, what happens to the ...
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2answers
636 views

What happens when a supersonic airplane flies through a cloud?

What happens when a supersonic airplane flies through a cloud? Will it punch a hole or is it more like a bullet through water (= hole closes immediately after the aircraft has passed)? Is there some ...
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3answers
3k views

Could a real-life X-Wing fly in Earth's atmosphere?

From an aerodynamic point of view, could a full-size aircraft of X-Wing design fly in Earth's atmosphere? Assuming you were free to add control surfaces here and there, could the wings in open ...
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212 views

Why does aircraft tail not project down from the fuselage? [closed]

Just what the title states; I was browsing photographs and it struck me how aircraft tails typically 'stand' atop the fuselage. A few aircraft (think it dates to the 40s-50s) have a tail that projects ...
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Practical personal aircraft today? [closed]

Is it possible to build, today, a personal aircraft that not use an impracticable amount of fuel for everyday use? What are the physical concepts that could be used to build it?
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4answers
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Why do aircraft inner wings lose lift when turning?

first question here, so please be gentle! I'm reading an entry-level engineering course book and am currently up to discussion of aircraft design. There's one particular statement that is unclear to ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does an airliner burn more fuel at lower altitudes?

At lower altitude an aeroplane usually has more lift. However an aeroplane flying at low altitudes (with gear/flaps up) at low velocity burns the same amount of fuel it would flying much faster at a ...
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8answers
642 views

How would you improve braking capability on a hovercraft?

Pretty much letting my mind free-wheel. Assume a fleet of air-supported hover-craft were to replace cars/etc on the streets. Assume also that the present traffic-signals/pedestrian rules remain ...
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2answers
132 views

The visibility of air

For pilots of gliders or sailplanes, the 'thermal' is the most important phenomena of the air. A thermal is classically described as an upward flow of air caused by ground level heating of air that ...
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1answer
317 views

Tear drop shape

i heard that a tear drop shap is the most aerodynamic shape possible or the best is this true? If this isn't true what is since i need to make a fast ROV? Also since i need to have a propeller to ...
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2answers
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How can airplanes fly upside down?

I've read many times, including here on this very site that the commonly known explanation of flight is wrong, and that airplanes can fly because the shape of their wings deflects air down. This makes ...
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2answers
345 views

Air drag coefficient value

Is there any equation that calculates the $C_d$ value in the formula of air drag ? $$F_d = \rho C_d v^2 A$$ I have found that there are tables for this constant but I am looking for the equation that ...
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What kind of shape has the lowest flutter wind speed?

What kind of shape has the lowest flutter wind speed and is the most unstable? I mean for rigid body. Thanks Yes, I know many factors affect the flutter in a MSD system (for rigid body), however ...
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1answer
274 views

Aerodynamics of two objects closely following each other

On bicycles.se a question came up about whether one cyclist drafting another causes the lead cyclist to be slowed down. A contributor suggested that the opposite might be the case, that the leading ...
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8answers
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Why does the air flow faster over the top of an airfoil?

I understand the common explanation of lift, which describes the airflow over the top of the wing as moving faster than the air below the wing. However, I don't quite understand why the air moves ...
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4answers
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Why is 55-60 MPH optimal for gas mileage of a passenger car?

My driver's education teacher back in high school said 55 MPH is optimal for gas mileage of a passenger car. Just last week, I read an article in a magazine saying 60 MPH is optimal. These numbers are ...
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1answer
250 views

Is this simulation following real physics?

I am trying to simulate a game in Box2D(Physics engine). The game that I am trying to simulate is very simple and can be found here: http://www.makaimedia.com/#/speartoss What I want to know is that, ...
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3answers
2k views

A spinning bullet

I know the rifling in a gun or rifle puts a spin on the bullet along the axis of trajectory. Now I don’t understand exactly what does it make the trajectory more stable and the travel grater?
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how does a helicopter get forward thrust?

Just passed a helicopter on my way to work. We have read in some detail how an airplane gets forward thrust and lift by deflecting air. How does a helicopter with horizontal fans achieve that ?
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Why do blades of windturbine propellers as comp. to propellers of ships cover very different areas?

This is a thought I asked myself often, but never did real efforts to get an answer. Barsmonsters question about number of fans of a wind turbine made me think of it again Why do blades of aircraft ...
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3answers
171 views

Effects on the lift of a Wing in a hermetically sealed torus

To help settle an office discussion could someone please explain why this is/is not possible. Assuming that materials could be found that are light and strong enough for its construction. If you ...
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1answer
2k views

Will a lighter car have a higher top speed than a heavier car with an equal power engine?

If I have a car (with a particular engine) optimized (shape & weight distribution-wise) for attaining the top speeds possible, and I put that engine into a car which is heavier (but otherwise the ...
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2answers
526 views

Given a radius and velocity calculate position of an aircraft banking to make a turn in three dimensional space

Suppose an aircraft is moving at a certain fixed altitude above the ground. It follows a path defined by latitude and longitude. Now if we want to define the position of an aircraft at any point in ...
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1answer
571 views

What does cross-track wind mean?

In aircraft literature, what does cross-track and along-track wind directions mean? Please explain in terms of the aircraft's motion relative to the wind direction. I can hazard a guess: along-track ...
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3answers
423 views

Why trimming the mainsail gives a larger torque to head up

I am learning sailing on a 5m catamaran (Nacra 5). I am familiar with basic aerodynamics and the physics of the sail and keel. We learned that when sailing closed hauled, too tight a mainsail tends ...
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2answers
203 views

How to calculate the effect of roof items on gas mileage?

I have a kayak and a bike. I routinely put them on top of my car and drive 60-70 mph for hundreds of miles. I am curious how much this affects my gas mileage.
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Helicopter in an Elevator

You buy one of those remote control toy helicopters. You bring it into an elevator. The elevator goes up. Does the helicopter hit the floor or does the floor of the elevator push the air up into the ...
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3answers
195 views

Making a “heavier-than-air” craft float

How big would a hollow rigid object need to be to float, (not in water but in air) if all of the air was vacuumed out and the container sealed?
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5answers
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Is it really impossible for Bumblebees to fly?

According to some source or other (I forget which now) it is theoretically impossible for bumblebees to fly by virtue of their size/bulk/aerodynamic properties. Is this old adage apocraphyal or true? ...
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1answer
396 views

NASCAR drafting at Daytona

This year, the racetrack at Daytona has been repaved. The track was always faster than other tracks NASCAR raced at and several cars in a "train" were faster than single cars or smaller trains. This ...
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3answers
3k views

How does an altimeter work?

In our aerodynamics class we recently discussed the concept of static and dynamic pressure and discussed their application to aircraft instruments. However, I do not understand properly how the ...
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2answers
146 views

Quickest “flights” across Atlantic and round the world

With the dawning of the private space industry, if someone was to build a rocket-based craft that powers you up and then glides in for a landing, what would be the quickest you could get across the ...
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How is the Joukowsky Transform used to calculate the Flow of an Airfoil?

As I read in The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, the Joukowsky transform $$w(z) = \frac12\left( z + \frac1z \right)$$ after Nikolai Zhukovsky (transcribed in several versions from Никола́й Его́рович ...
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1answer
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Why exactly does a boomerang return back to the thrower?

I was always intrigued by the phenomena that govern the returning back of a boomerang to the thrower. Even if it is dependent on various factors such as velocity, aerodynamics, wind resistance and ...
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6answers
958 views

How do I figure out the effects of wind on flight?

For a school project, I'm trying to make an automated flight planner, considering mainly the differences in flight paths according to wind. Now I've heard that flying with/against the wind affects ...