Cylinder Lift and Drag
David Clark Group 1 MAE 449 – Aerospace Laboratory
Abstract
The lift and drag coefficients are nondimensional parameters which describe the forces acting on a body in a fluid flow. A cylinder is an excellent specimen to study these forces due to the geometric simplicity, as well as steady continuity across the entire body. Calculating these parameters can be an arduous task, however maintaining steady, incompressible, and irrotational flow with negligible body forces allow the use of the ideal gas law, Bernoulli’s equation, and Sutherland’s viscosity correlation. Using the newly simplified expressions for C _{l} and C _{d} , the lift and drag coefficient, the results were calculated using simple pressure measurements along with simple parameters describing the laboratory testing conditions. The lift and drag coefficient of a cylinder with a diameter of 0.75 inches in flow with a Reynolds number of 30,000 was 4.639x10 ^{}^{2} and 69.41 respectively.
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Contents
Abstract 
2 
Introduction and Background 
4 
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 
4 
Governing Equations 
4 
Similarity ............................................................................................................................................. 
5 
Aerodynamic Coefficients 
5 
Equipment and Procedure 
6 
Equipment 
6 
6 

6 

7 

Raw Data 
7 
Preliminary Calculations 
7 
Results 
10 
ANSYS CFD 
14 
16 

16 

16 
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Introduction and Background
Introduction
The following laboratory procedure explores the aerodynamic lift and drag forces experienced by a cylinder placed in a uniform freestream velocity. This will be accomplished using a wind tunnel and various pressure probes with a small brass cylinder as the subject of study. When viscous shear stresses act along a body, as they would during all fluid flow, the resultant force
can be expressed as a lift and drag component. The lift component is normal to the airflow, whereas the drag component is parallel. To further characterize and communicate these effects, nondimensional coefficients are utilized. For example, a simple nondimensional coefficient can be expressed as
=
1
2
^{}^{} ^{}
^{}
Equation 1
where F is either the lift or drag forces, A _{R}_{E}_{F} is a specified reference area, ρ is the density of the fluid, and V is the net velocity experienced by the object.
Governing Equations
To assist in determining the properties of the working fluid, air, several proven governing equations can be used, including the ideal gas law, Sutherland’s viscosity correlation, and Bernoulli’s equation. These relationships are valid for steady, incompressible, irrotational flow at nominal temperatures with negligible body forces. The ideal gas law can be used to relate the following
=
Equation 2
where p is the pressure of the fluid, R is the universal gas constant (287 J/(kg K)), and T is the temperature of the gas. This expression establishes the relationship between the three properties of air that are of interest for use in this experiment.
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Another parameter needed is the viscosity of the working fluid. Sutherland’s viscosity correlation is readily available for the testing conditions and can be expressed as
=
_{}_{} .
1 +
Equation 3
where b is equal to 1.458 x 10 ^{}^{6} (kg K^(0.5))/(m s) and S is 110.4 K. Finally, Bernoulli’s equation defines the total stagnation pressure as
Similarity
_{} = +
1
2 ^{}
Equation 4
Using the previous governing equations, we can use the Reynolds number. The Reynolds
number is important because it allows the results obtained in this laboratory procedure to be scaled to larger scenarios. The Reynolds number can be expressed as
=
Equation 5
where c is a characteristic dimension of the body. For a cylinder, this dimension will be the diameter. As a result, the Reynolds number based on diameter is referenced as Re _{D} .
Aerodynamic Coefficients
Three aerodynamic coefficients are used to explore the lift and drag forces on the test cylinder. First, the pressure coefficient expresses the difference in local pressure, the pressure at one discrete point on the cylinder, over the dynamic pressure.
_{} =
− _{}
1
2
^{} _{}
Equation 6
The theoretical value for Cp can be calculated as _{} = 1 − 4 ^{} 180° −
Equation 7
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The pressure coefficient can be used in the determination of the 2D lift coefficient, C _{l} .
_{} =
1
2
Equation 8
Finally, the drag coefficient can be expressed as
=
1
2
Equation 9
Equipment and Procedure
Equipment
The following experiment used the following equipment:
• 
A wind tunnel with a 1ft x 1ft test section 
• 
Smooth, ¾ inch diameter brass cylinder with a pressure tap at midspan 
• 
A transversing mechanism to move the pitot tube to various sections of the test section 
• 
A Pitotstatic probe 
• 
Digital pressure transducer 
• 
Data Acquisition (DAQ) Hardware 
Experiment Setup
Before beginning, the pressure and temperature of laboratory testing conditions was measured and recorded. Using equations 2 and 3, the density and viscosity of the air was calculated. The UAH wind tunnel contains cutouts to allow the brass rod to be mounted inside the test section. A degree wheel is rigidly attached to cylinder such that the angle at which the pressure tap is exposed in relation to the fluid flow can easily be adjusted and measured.
Basic Procedure
To ensure the working flow is relatively laminar and within a range acceptable for study, the procedure initiated flow with a Reynolds number of 30,000. The velocity at which the laboratory air must be accelerated was determined by solving equation 5 for velocity. First, the density and viscosity of the air must be calculated using equations 2 and 3 respectively.
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Using the DAQ hardware, the difference in pressure between the pressure port and the reference pitot tube was recorded for every 15 degrees of cylinder rotation. The raw data from this step is included in the data section.
Data, Calculations, and Analysis
Raw Data
The following table catalogs the pressure read by the DAQ hardware for every 15 degrees of cylinder rotation. Three data sets were taken to ensure integrity.
Angle (Θ) 
Data Set 1 Pressure (p) 
Data Set 2 Pressure (p) 
Data set 3 Pressure (p) 
0 
350 

15 
286 

30 
90 
81 
75 
45 
175 
176 
176 
60 
400 
395 
403 
75 
450 
451 
452 
90 
400 
403 
402 
105 
370 
370 
370 
120 
390 
385 
370 
135 
400 
400 
395 
150 
410 
413 
420 
165 
425 
411 
431 
180 
440 
420 
439 
195 
420 
417 
420 
210 
410 
416 
416 
225 
400 
409 
395 
240 
385 
399 
383 
255 
370 
392 
371 
270 
400 
396 
387 
285 
450 
454 
422 
300 
400 
405 
408 
315 
175 
172 
172 
330 
85 
85 
90 
345 
288 

360 
351 
Table 1
Preliminary Calculations
First, the density and viscosity of the air at laboratory conditions was calculated. This can easily be accomplished using equation 2 and 3.
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=
99.5
=
287 _{}_{}_{} 296.15
= 1.171
^{}
Equation 10
=
_{}_{} .
1 +
=
1.458 × 10 ^{}^{}
^{}^{} _{} 296.15
^{} ^{.} ^{}
1 +
110.4
296.15
= 1.828 × 10 ^{}
^{}^{}
Equation 11
For a Reynolds number of 30,000, the velocity of the airflow must therefore be
=
=
30000 1.828 × 10 ^{}
^{}
1.171 ^{}^{} _{} 1.905
× 10 ^{}^{}
= 24.59
Equation 12
This value is determined using the definition of the Reynolds number where c, the reference diameter, is
the known value of 0.75 inches (converted in the equation to meters.) For reference, the value for q can
be calculated as
_{} =
1
2
^{} =
1
2
1.171 ^{}^{} _{} 24.59
= 353.95
Equation 13
All three data sets can be combined by averaging the three records for each angle.
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Angle (Θ) 
Pressure (p) 
0 
348 
15 
284 
30 
82 
45 
176 
60 
399 
75 
451 
90 
402 
105 
370 
120 
382 
135 
398 
150 
414 
165 
422 
180 
433 
195 
419 
210 
414 
225 
401 
240 
389 
255 
378 
270 
394 
285 
442 
300 
404 
315 
173 
330 
87 
345 
288 
360 
349 
Table 2
The value recorded by the DAQ represents the difference in pressure from the pressure port on the
cylinder to the pitot probe in the test section away from the cylinder. Inserting these values into
equation 6 will yield the pressure coefficient on the surface of the cylinder at the specified angle. For
example, the pressure coefficient for 0 degrees can be calculated as
^{} , ^{=}
∆
348
=
353.95 ^{=} ^{0}^{.}^{9}^{8}^{4}
Equation 14
The theoretical value for Cp at this angle can be calculated using equation 7.
_{} _{,} _{}_{}_{}_{} _{,} _{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{}_{} = 1 − 4 ^{} 180° − = 1 − 4 ^{} 180° − 0° = 1.000
Equation 15
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Results
Using equation 6, the pressure coefficient for each 15 degree increment is given in the following
table.
Angle (Θ) 
Cp 
Cp (theoretical) 
0 
0.984 
1.000 
15 
0.802 
0.732 
30 
0.232 
0.000 
45 
0.496 
1.000 
60 
1.129 
2.000 
75 
1.275 
2.732 
90 
1.135 
3.000 
105 
1.046 
2.732 
120 
1.079 
2.000 
135 
1.126 
1.000 
150 
1.171 
0.000 
165 
1.194 
0.732 
180 
1.224 
1.000 
195 
1.184 
0.732 
210 
1.170 
0.000 
225 
1.134 
1.000 
240 
1.099 
2.000 
255 
1.067 
2.732 
270 
1.114 
3.000 
285 
1.249 
2.732 
300 
1.143 
2.000 
315 
0.489 
1.000 
330 
0.245 
0.000 
345 
0.814 
0.732 
360 
0.987 
1.000 
Table 3
A plot of Cp and the theoretical Cp over versus angle may better visualize the behavior of the
system.
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Figure 1
The theoretical values for Cp match the measured values at low angles on the leading face of the
cylinder. The flow separates at approximately 50 degrees, which correlates to the value of 55 degrees
which is anticipated from empirical charts.
Using a simple numerical integration technique, the integral value for lift as expressed in equation 7
can be determined using the following table.
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Angle (Θ) 
Cp 
Cp * sin(Θ) 
trap 
0 
0.984 
0.000 
1.556 
15 
0.802 
0.207 
2.425 
30 
0.232 
0.116 
1.764 
45 
0.496 
0.351 
9.963 
60 
1.129 
0.977 
16.564 
75 
1.275 
1.231 
17.747 
90 
1.135 
1.135 
16.089 
105 
1.046 
1.010 
14.581 
120 
1.079 
0.934 
12.976 
135 
1.126 
0.796 
10.361 
150 
1.171 
0.585 
6.708 
165 
1.194 
0.309 
2.317 
180 
1.224 
0.000 
2.299 
195 
1.184 
0.306 
6.686 
210 
1.170 
0.585 
10.402 
225 
1.134 
0.802 
13.155 
240 
1.099 
0.952 
14.873 
255 
1.067 
1.031 
16.090 
270 
1.114 
1.114 
17.407 
285 
1.249 
1.207 
16.471 
300 
1.143 
0.990 
10.015 
315 
0.489 
0.346 
1.674 
330 
0.245 
0.122 
2.498 
345 
0.814 
0.211 
1.580 
360 
0.987 
0.000 
0.000 
Table 4
The Cp is repeated from the previous calculations. As sample calculation is given in equation 13. The
third column is the product the Cp for the corresponding angle and the sine of the angle. The fourth
column, labeled as the trap, is expressed as
_{} =
_{} ∙ _{} + _{} ∙ _{}_{}_{}
2 ×  + 
Equation 16
To numerically integrates the integral of equation 7, Cl can be calculated as.


_{} = − 

= 4.639 × 10 ^{}^{} 

Equation 17
The lift coefficient lends some insight into the accuracy of the experiment. Since no lift is anticipated
for a stationary cylinder in steady flow, and deviation from a lift coefficient can be attributed to error.
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A similar procedure can be used to determine the drag coefficient. The table below is used to
numerically integrate equation 7.
Angle (Θ) 
Cp 
Cp * cos(Θ) 
trap 
0 
0.984 
0.984 
13.191 
15 
0.802 
0.774 
7.313 
30 
0.232 
0.201 
1.128 
45 
0.496 
0.351 
6.865 
60 
1.129 
0.564 
6.706 
75 
1.275 
0.330 
2.474 
90 
1.135 
0.000 
2.030 
105 
1.046 
0.271 
6.075 
120 
1.079 
0.539 
10.015 
135 
1.126 
0.796 
13.576 
150 
1.171 
1.014 
16.252 
165 
1.194 
1.153 
17.824 
180 
1.224 
1.224 
17.756 
195 
1.184 
1.144 
16.178 
210 
1.170 
1.013 
13.614 
225 
1.134 
0.802 
10.138 
240 
1.099 
0.550 
6.194 
255 
1.067 
0.276 
2.072 
270 
1.114 
0.000 
2.425 
285 
1.249 
0.323 
6.710 
300 
1.143 
0.571 
6.878 
315 
0.489 
0.346 
1.002 
330 
0.245 
0.212 
7.487 
345 
0.814 
0.786 
13.301 
360 
0.987 
0.987 
Table 5
An expression to numerically integrate the integral of equation 8 can be created using numerical
integration techniques. C _{d} can be calculated as


_{} = 

= 69.41 

Equation 18
where the trap can be calculated as
_{} =
_{} ∙ _{} + _{} ∙ _{}_{}_{}
2 ×  + 
Equation 19
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ANSYS CFD
Below are screenshots taken fr om inputting the geometric and laboratory conditio ns into ANSYS
CFD 11. The explanation into the se tup and validity of these results is beyond the scop e of this lab,
however the results visually describ be the phenomenon that results from the flow arou nd the cylinder.
The first image is the vector fie ld of the flow perpendicular to the length of the cyl inder. The
separation, as well as the disturban ce behind the cylinder is clearly visible.
Figure 2
The second image rotates the v iew to display an isometric view of the body. The c olor gradient on
the body represents the pressure o n the surface of the cylinder.
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Figure 3
The final image displays the pre ssure gradient across the aft side of the body.
Figure 4
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Conclusions
The lift and drag coefficient of a cylinder with a diameter of 0.75 inches in flow with a Reynolds
number of 30,000 is 4.639x10 ^{}^{2} and 69.41 respectively.
References
“Aerodynamics Lab 1 – Cylinder Lift and Drag”. Handout
Raw Data
Aero Lab 1 Group 1 Fall 07 

R= 
287 

p 
99500 
b= 
0.000001458 
t 
23 
S= 
110.4 
rho 
1.171 

u 
1.828E05 

q 
354 

V 
24.59 
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Angle (Θ) 
Data Set 1 Pressure (p) 
Data Set 2 Pressure (p) 
Data set 3 Pressure (p) 
0 
349 
350 
346 
15 
285 
286 
280 
30 
90 
81 
75 
45 
175 
176 
176 
60 
400 
395 
403 
75 
450 
451 
452 
90 
400 
403 
402 
105 
370 
370 
370 
120 
390 
385 
370 
135 
400 
400 
395 
150 
410 
413 
420 
165 
425 
411 
431 
180 
440 
420 
439 
195 
420 
417 
420 
210 
410 
416 
416 
225 
400 
409 
395 
240 
385 
399 
383 
255 
370 
392 
371 
270 
400 
396 
387 
285 
450 
454 
422 
300 
400 
405 
408 
315 
175 
172 
172 
330 
85 
85 
90 
345 
288 
288 
288 
360 
349 
351 
348 
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