Questions tagged [lift]

Lift is the aerodynamic/hydrodynamic force on a body moving through a fluid that opposes the force of gravity. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for elevators. For aerostatic/hydrostatic lift in fluidstatics use the [tag:buoyancy] tag instead. For EM forces use the [tag:levitation] tag instead.

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249
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14answers
70k 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 ...
45
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2answers
52k 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 ...
32
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13answers
4k views

What does a wing do that an engine can't?

This isn't a question of how a wing works -- vortex flow, Bernoulli's principle, all of that jazz. Instead, it's a question of why we need a wing at all. A wing produces lift, but why is that ...
22
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3answers
13k views

Why don't rockets tip over when they launch?

Rockets separate from the launch pad and supporting structures very early in flight. It seems like they should tip over once that happens. Why don't they tip over ? Is it due to a well designed ...
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 (...
15
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8answers
9k views

Does it take significantly more fuel to fly a heavier airplane?

I was reading in the papers how some-airline-or-the-other increased their prices for extra luggage, citing increased fuel costs. Now I'm a bit skeptical. Using the (wrong) Bernoulli-effect ...
14
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5answers
1k views

Is flying really easier on smaller scales?

In the book Playing with Planets, the author makes the following argument, pertinent to flying robots of the future: As it is, an important law of physics says that smaller organisms fly much more ...
14
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3answers
966 views

Would an airplane flying through superfluid helium experience lift and drag?

Would an airplane flying through superfluid helium experience lift and drag? The airplane is presumed cold enough to not heat up the helium.
13
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5answers
5k 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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Why do co-rotating vortices coalesce, but not counter-rotating ones?

In studying the aerodynamics of modern aircraft equipped with high-lift devices, I have discovered that quite a number of distinct trailing vortices are present in the immediate wake of an airplane in ...
12
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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
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3answers
3k views

Earth magnetic field space elevator. No cable [closed]

I have an idea that the space elevator can be build in the following conditions: Not a classic theory. No cable. No Geostatic orbit. Not equator platform position The possible platform / base ...
10
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2answers
11k views

Calculating the force required to lift a weight with a screw

I am trying to learn physics by myself as I do not have a good teacher at school. I've been reading Feynman Lectures on Physics and I can't figure out how he found out this number. Here is an excerpt ...
10
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4answers
24k views

How does the 'water jet pack' work?

So I was cruising around at YouTube and saw this sweet video, and as I was watching started to wonder: "How is this possible?". For a little bit of background, in case you decide to not watch the ...
9
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2answers
388 views

Can the Arcaboard fly?

Recently, BBC news had a video that claimed to show a "real" hoverboard: As far as I can tell, there are 36 small fans on this device, and it seems to be flying just a few inches off the ground. But ...
9
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2answers
5k views

Could some design of a propeller be used in both air and water?

Propellers in water are smaller in diameter. They also move more slowly. On the other hand, aircraft propellers are larger in diameter, have narrower blades and operate at very high speeds. An ...
9
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1answer
4k views

How strong must a tornado be to pick up a shark?

Yes, you know where this is going. There is a good article on this topic by National Geographic: 'Sharknado' Got One Thing Right: Aquatic Animals Sometimes Do Fall From the Sky One of the first ...
8
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1answer
9k 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 ...
8
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3answers
11k 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 ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Could the phenomenon of vortex bursting be exploited to reduce wake turbulence?

One of the classic stories in the annals of aerospace engineering is the development (and subsequent redesign) of the F-18 and its Leading Edge Extensions (LEX) due to fatigue problems, problems that ...
7
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4answers
25k views

How much lift does the average latex helium filled party balloon produce?

How much lift does the average helium filled party balloon produce? (not including any extras like ribbon string)
7
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5answers
1k views

Could hydrogen liberated from water provide lifting energy which exceeds the energy it took to liberate it from water

I was thinking about Hydrogen balloons and that large ones which are used for weather balloons which sometimes go up to 100,000 ft (approx 30km). Then I was wondering, how much potential energy has ...
6
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1answer
265 views

Generating lift by Naruto running

"Naruto running" is running with your arms behind you (pictured above). Many characters in the Naruto series are superhuman and can run way faster than a normal human. I thought that they run like ...
6
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1answer
668 views

Levitating capacitor

As the title already says, I would like to make a large capacitor levitate. Before you dismiss this question please hear me out: In essence, this is intended to be a way to avoid the constrains of a ...
5
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4answers
8k views

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 ...
5
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5answers
752 views

Can a balloon be used as an anchor point for a pulley?

For a physics/ engineering contest, I want to use a large balloon as an anchor point for a pulley. This would allow me to raise and drop masses. However, in testing, when I pull on the pulley the ...
5
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2answers
698 views

Is it possible to fly like a bird using semi-motorized wings?

On his website http://www.humanbirdwings.net/ the dutch engineer Jarno Smeets claims to have successfully build a set of 17 m^2 bird-like wings from material of a kite. It is claimed that it uses ...
5
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5answers
971 views

What causes the air speed difference above and below the wing of a plane?

I am studying about the lift generated by a fluid flowing on a surface. In the case of an airfoil I have seen that there are various ways to explain it, you can use for example: the third law of ...
4
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4answers
11k views

Why does moving air have low pressure?

According to Wikipedia lift in an aircraft is due to an area of low pressure formed above the wings of an aircraft due to the fast moving air there. So why exactly is an area of low pressure created ...
4
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5answers
2k views

What principles does an air glider use?

I just saw this video which was kind of nifty. What principles govern this? Is it simply that 700 lbs of air pressure are exerted from that little 1 HP blower? What would you have to take into ...
4
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3answers
7k views

How much lift does an airplane get from its wings, vs the rest of the airframe?

Consider a big commercial airliner, like a 727, 747, or a 787. At cruising altitude, under standard conditions, how much of the lift of the aircraft comes from the wings, and how much from the rest ...
4
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1answer
671 views

Is this xkcd comic feasible? [closed]

I was reading through some xkcd comics, and I came across this one (http://xkcd.com/620/). In the comic, one of the main characters harnesses 91% his weight in order to be able to 'fly' with the lift ...
4
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4answers
18k 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
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1answer
3k views

Uses of the Reynolds number

I have seen a lot of places talking about the Reynolds number and how it is calculated, but I have never seen an equation that actually made use of this number to calculate lift, drag, or other ...
4
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1answer
371 views

Do atmospheric physics prevent hot air balloons from ascending over 60,000ft?

I was reading the altitude records for hot air balloons on Wikipedia, and noted that the max hot air balloon altitude was about 60,000ft. It didn't really say if there was a reason why. I know that ...
4
votes
1answer
449 views

Understanding equation for force acting on stones skipping over water

I think I have a decent conceptual understanding of the forces at work when stones are skipped over water. My question pertains to this equation, $$ F = C_L\rho U^2S\sin({\alpha + \beta}) $$ which ...
4
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2answers
6k views

Integrating pressure over a surface

Consider the 2D airfoil below. (source: gsu.edu) In engineering (and maybe physics) you will often see something like the following as an expression for the pressure force acting on a surface (in ...
4
votes
1answer
45 views

How fast do the aerodynamic forces on a surface build up?

I`m currently working on my thesis in the field of active car aerodynamics. In order to design a controller to move parts of the cars body I need to know how fast the drag and downforce acting on this ...
3
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3answers
347 views

If gravity were to suddenly change, would the lift generated by a airfoil also change [closed]

If gravity were to suddenly change, would the lift generated by a airfoil also change? I realise that if gravity were to increase, then weight would also increase, leading to a change in the ...
3
votes
1answer
923 views

Force Keeping Water Skier Afloat

A motionless water skier sinks because the upward buoyancy force on the skier is less than the downward force of gravity on the skier. A skier pulled by a boat does not sink into the water. Why?
3
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3answers
1k views

Does launching a rocket in lower density air require more or less fuel?

Given two environments that are identical, except for air density (e.g. Cape Canaveral, but at Mount Everest's height), would launching a rocket require more or less fuel at the lower air density?
3
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4answers
137 views

Why doesn't my flight aerodynamics maths work? [closed]

Context: For some context, I'm a game developer and I'm building a flight sim game. My goal is to have realistic flight physics -- not arcade physics. I'm having issues with the maths -- it is not ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Counter rotating propellers: better in same column or staggered?

In an octo-copter design, is it better to put four pairs of counter-rotating props over each other so that each pair works in a column together? Or will you get more power or efficiency from ...
3
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0answers
36 views

Is Bernoulli's equation the correct explanation of a curved soccer ball? [duplicate]

I saw a lot of materials supposing that the Bernoulli's equation explains the curvature of a soccer ball: since the ball is spinning, two sides of the ball would experience different velocities, and ...
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 ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Do wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of air?

It is often said that wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. But in respect to horizontal wind turbines with airfoil shaped blades this is imho not the case. Wind ...
2
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3answers
5k views

How many grams of helium are required to lift an object weighing $X$ grams?

I once saw a video on youtube about how a man used a collection of balloons to lift himself along with his lawn chair from one side of Los Angeles to the other. My understanding of physics is a bit ...
2
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4answers
660 views

How does the position of lift affect the stability of the lifted object?

Consider this example: Treat G as 10. The blue blocks provide lift of 10N, or -1KG. The red block has a weight of 20N, or 2KG. The black bar has no weight. All have their center of gravity in their ...
2
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3answers
135 views

Do drones fly because of low pressure above them or high pressure below them?

I was working on some drone battery life solutions and was stuck with the question whether drones fly because of low pressure created above them by the rotor or due to high pressure created below them....
2
votes
1answer
426 views

Boundary Layer Physics and Bernoulli Principle

I was taught that the relative velocity of all fluid particles directly in contact with the boundary in a fluid flow is zero. In other words, that the relative velocity of fluid particles in the ...