Questions tagged [aerodynamics]

A subset of the [fluid-dynamics] tag 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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257
votes
15answers
72k views

What really allows airplanes to fly?

What aerodynamic effects actually contribute to producing the lift on an airplane? I know there's a common belief that lift comes from the Bernoulli effect, where air moving over the wings is at ...
17
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7answers
93k views

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 ...
20
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3answers
12k views

Does a wing in a potential flow have lift?

I have a hard time understanding whether or not a wing placed in a potential flow, assuming there is no viscosity and no friction with the wing, will produce a lift. I've seen several contradictory (...
12
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1answer
11k views

Book recommendations for fluid dynamics self-study

I have my bachelors degree in engineering science: computer science, option electrotechnic. I have a good understanding of basic mechanics and dynamics, calculus (differential equations). The books I'...
17
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5answers
2k views

How to sail downwind faster than the wind?

Recently a group set a record for sailing a wind-powered land vehicle directly down wind, and a speed faster than wind speed. Wikipedia has a page talking about it, but it doesn't explain exactly how ...
9
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2answers
26k views

What shape has the highest drag coefficient?

This image from NASA illustrates drag coefficients for several shapes: It is generally accepted that some variation of the teardrop/airfoil shape has the lowest drag coefficient. I was wondering ...
56
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6answers
118k views

Why is jumping into water from high altitude fatal?

If I jump from an airplane straight positioned upright into the ocean, why is it the same as jumping straight on the ground? Water is a liquid as opposed to the ground, so I would expect that by ...
14
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6answers
6k views

How much effect does the Bernoulli effect have on lift?

I understand that the Bernoulli effect is a flawed explanation for the cause of lift, and does not cause much at all, but how much? Is there any experimental data on the force caused by the ...
18
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5answers
7k views

Would a fast interstellar spaceship benefit from an aerodynamic shape?

Some (generous) assumptions: We have a spaceship that can reach a reasonable fraction of light speed. The ship is able to withstand the high energies of matter impacting at that speed. Given the ...
13
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2answers
5k views

Why, when one opens 1 car window, does that noise occur?

When you're driving and you open 1 car window, say the front one, there comes a horrible noise, but when you open another window just the slightest bit, this noise goes away (I'm sure most people know ...
38
votes
3answers
26k views

What is going on in front of and behind a fan?

Why is it that when you drop paper behind a fan, it drops, and is not blown/sucked into the fan, whereas if you drop paper in front of a fan, it is blown away?
65
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5answers
11k views

Why do archery arrows tilt downwards in their descent?

In the movies, arrows shot into the air rotate so that during the descent, the arrow head hits ground first. What is the source of this angular momentum? It would seem that the bow string exerts a ...
13
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why do vapour cones form around jet fighters?

Apparently this phenomenon has nothing to do with jets breaking the sound barrier and has something to do with the Prandtl-Glauert singularity as described on Wikipedia. But, the Wikipedia article isn'...
3
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2answers
39k views

Calculate flow rate of air through a pressurized hole

I was wondering about this: If there is a pressurized container, like a tank of compressed air at some pressure that is greater than the ambient air pressure, and this tank of air has a hole in it, ...
7
votes
1answer
871 views

Why Are Normal Shock Waves Unstable in a Converging Channel?

While learning about shock waves in an introductory Gas Dynamics course, it was revealed that normal shocks are unstable if formed in a converging channel. Even if the local conditions ostensibly ...
45
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2answers
55k views

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 ...
17
votes
5answers
12k views

Why aren't airplanes like golf balls?

Ok this is a silly question but here it goes Although it is good to have a laminar flow of the air around the object for low drag but the laminar flow is prone the phenomena called separation (sounds ...
5
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Are the hypotheses of the Bernoulli equation satisfied for a bird or airplane wing at low Mach number?

A previous question by David Zaslavsky was a request for a broad, "how things work" type of explanation of the lift of an airfoil. The answers given there are enlightening, but don't address a more ...
25
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1answer
1k views

Causes of hexagonal shape of Saturn's jet stream

NASA has just shown a more detailed picture of the hexagonal vortex/storm on Saturn: http://www.ibtimes.com/nasa-releases-images-saturns-hexagon-mega-storm-may-have-been-swirling-centuries-1496218 ...
6
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4answers
8k views

What exactly is the 'lift' of a sailboat as explained by Bernoulli principle

I have heard that when a sailboat is sailing against the wind, it operates on the principle of 'lift'. I am unable to understand the explanation, based on Bernoulli principle, completely. My question ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Boomerang physics and aerodynamics

I posted a question before on this website asking how to build a boomerang for a project which can fly at least 200 feet, so how would I increase the flight path. A user responded with: slow down the ...
17
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4answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

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, $L$ ...
1
vote
1answer
970 views

Boomerang torque and angular momentum

I'm building a boomerang for a project, but I've made it a goal for myself to have a boomerang which can fly at lest 200 feet, so how would I increase the flight path. Angular momentum increases in ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Why does your car lurch toward an oncoming truck as it passes you?

I notice that the larger the truck the greater the magnitude of the lurch. Can anyone give a physical explanation to this?
5
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6answers
4k views

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? ...
5
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2answers
13k views

Why do cars gain lift while going at a high speed?

I've been researching the physics involved with spoilers and I've just been turning up the same information about spoilers giving the back wheels of a car more traction by acting as an up side down ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Does drag produce heat?

When a solid object moves through a fluid drag is produced. Does this drag produce heat? I believe drag should produce heat as it is the friction between fluid and surface of object. Is this true or ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Are raindrops actually “shaped like tears” when they fall?

Raindrops are always pictured like this, people imagine they have this shape when they fall, but is this true? Doesn't this shape create too much drag? What shape do they really have? It would also be ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Calculating wind force and drag force on a falling object

I'm trying to numerically integrate the motion of an object (say, a falling vertical cylinder). Here, there's a drag force: the wind "acting" on the body (presumably adding horizontal velocity) and ...
2
votes
3answers
6k 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 why does it make the trajectory more stable and allow for greater travel?
2
votes
1answer
543 views

Supersonic wind tunnel with total pressure loss?

I am reading "I am reading "Fundamentals of Aerodynamics" 5th edition, J.D.Anderson. If you have the book, go to chapter 10: Compressible Flow through Nozzles, Diffusers, and Wind Tunnels". In order ...
2
votes
1answer
529 views

Could one fire a bullet with sufficient speed to leave the Earth?

Consider a gun or rifle fired directly upwards. My original question was what speed would be required to escape the Earth. The escape velocity from the surface of the Earth is the classic $$v_e = \...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

How is the kinetic energy of the wind transferred onto a lift based wind turbine?

The rotor blades of a lift based wind turbine are shaped like airfoils, so the wind flowing around them creates a lift force which in turn moves them around. From a thermodynamic viewpoint and like ...
0
votes
2answers
487 views

Calculate work done by a hovering helicopter over time

This is likely to be very simple, but... How does one calculate work done by a hovering unmoving aircraft over time? As in work in Joules. In this scenario, to remain hovering the aircraft has to ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Deriving equation for skipping stones over water

Why can rocks skip over water (stone skipping)? For instance, if you conduct an experiment where you drop both rocks from the same height, but give one considerable acceleration in the $x$-direction, ...
8
votes
3answers
12k views

Is Magnus effect a corollary of Bernoulli principle?

Magnus effect is commonly explained using Bernoulli principle. However, taking the lift on a rotating cylinder as an example, the velocity difference is caused by the extra work done by the rotating ...
11
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1answer
10k views

What is a Physically Accurate Explanation for the Kutta Condition?

Countless arguments between highly intelligent people have been waged (on this very site in fact) as to exactly how lift can be explained in an experimentally and mathematically rigorous way. Taking ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
7k views

Why does a diffuser increase pressure?

There are many resources that give explanations for the behavior of nozzles and diffusers. But at the crux point they all say, "Velocity goes down and pressure goes up." As if that doesn't warrant any ...
7
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3answers
2k views

The demise of the Tacoma Narrows bridge was casused by aeroelastic flutter. But isn't that just a special case of resonance?

Much of the research I've done on the Tacoma Narrows bridge disaster of 1940 attribute the collapse of the bridge due to aeroelastic flutter - not strucural resonance. But isn't aeroelastic flutter ...
4
votes
1answer
405 views

What velocity must an aircraft achieve for its shock wave to transform to plasma?

A follow-up to After what speed air friction starts to heat up an object? I understand there may be technological limitations at present ... but, is it theoretically possible for a body to travel ...
4
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4answers
20k views

How is lift generated due to Coanda effect?

I can understand the generation of lift via Newton's 3rd law but I cannot understand via Coanda effect. I watched a video on YouTube that said that for the upper side of the aerofoil the pressure will ...
4
votes
2answers
21k views

Calculate quadrotor propeller torque due to aerodynamic drag

I'd like to know the right formula to calculate torque of a quadrotor propeller (propeller pitch is constant) due to aerodynamic drag in terms of angular velocity $ \omega $. For the sake of my ...
9
votes
1answer
453 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
14k views

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

How does a converging-diverging nozzle not violate conservation of energy?

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about fluid dynamics, and very little about physics in general. THis may be a really dumb question. Now, at subsonic speeds, converging and diverging nozzles ...
3
votes
3answers
406 views

Paper rectangle spinning phenomenon

Why does a paper strip (small width and long length) spin on itself when dropped rather than move from side to side as a sheet of paper would do?