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572

FLUID MECHANICS

Sphere

Hemisphere

CD = 24/Re

Circular disk

(normal to flow)

FIGURE 1118

Drag coefficients CD at low velocities

(Re ) 1 where Re # VD/n and

A # pD2/4).

for Re > 104

CD = 22.2/Re

Circular disk

(parallel to flow)

CD = 20.4/Re

V

D

CD = 13.6/Re

The drag coefficients for low Reynolds number flows past some other

geometries are given in Fig. 1118. Note that at low Reynolds numbers, the

shape of the body does not have a major influence on the drag coefficient.

The drag coefficients for various two- and three-dimensional bodies are

given in Tables 111 and 112 for large Reynolds numbers. We can make

several observations from these tables about the drag coefficient at high

Reynolds numbers. First of all, the orientation of the body relative to the

direction of flow has a major influence on the drag coefficient. For example,

the drag coefficient for flow over a hemisphere is 0.4 when the spherical

side faces the flow, but it increases threefold to 1.2 when the flat side faces

the flow (Fig. 1119). This shows that the rounded nose of a bullet serves

another purpose in addition to piercing: reducing drag and thus increasing

the range of the gun.

For blunt bodies with sharp corners, such as flow over a rectangular block

or a flat plate normal to flow, separation occurs at the edges of the front and

back surfaces, with no significant change in the character of flow. Therefore, the drag coefficient of such bodies is nearly independent of the

Reynolds number. Note that the drag coefficient of a long rectangular rod

can be reduced almost by half from 2.2 to 1.2 by rounding the corners.

CD = 0.4

V

CD = 1.2

FIGURE 1119

The drag coefficient of a body may

change drastically by changing the

bodys orientation (and thus shape)

relative to the direction of flow.

The concept of drag also has important consequences for biological systems. For example, the bodies of fish, especially the ones that swim fast for

long distances (such as dolphins), are highly streamlined to minimize drag

(the drag coefficient of dolphins based on the wetted skin area is about

0.0035, comparable to the value for a flat plate in turbulent flow). So it is no

surprise that we build submarines that mimic large fish. Tropical fish with

fascinating beauty and elegance, on the other hand, swim gracefully short

distances only. Obviously grace, not high speed and drag, was the primary

consideration in their design. Birds teach us a lesson on drag reduction by

extending their beak forward and folding their feet backward during flight

573

CHAPTER 11

TA B L E 1 1 1

Drag coefficients CD of various two-dimensional bodies for Re * 104 based on the frontal area A # bD, where b is the

length in direction normal to the page (for use in the drag force relation FD # CD ArV 2/2 where V is the upstream velocity)

Square rod

Rectangular rod

L

r

D

Sharp corners:

CD = 2.2

Round corners

(r/D = 0.2):

CD = 1.2

L

V

V

CD

0.0*

0.1

0.5

1.0

2.0

3.0

1.9

1.9

2.5

2.2

1.7

1.3

Round

front edge:

L/D

CD

0.5

1.0

2.0

4.0

1.2

0.9

0.7

0.7

Elliptical rod

Laminar:

CD = 1.2

Turbulent:

CD = 0.3

V

Sharp

corners:

L/D

CD

L

V

Semicircular shell

CD = 1.5

CD = 2.0

L/D

Laminar

Turbulent

2

4

8

0.60

0.35

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

Semicircular rod

CD = 2.3

CD = 1.2

(Fig. 1120). Airplanes, which look somewhat like big birds, retract their

wheels after takeoff in order to reduce drag and thus fuel consumption.

The flexible structure of plants enables them to reduce drag at high winds

by changing their shapes. Large flat leaves, for example, curl into a low-drag

conical shape at high wind speeds, while tree branches cluster to reduce

drag. Flexible trunks bend under the influence of the wind to reduce drag,

and the bending moment is lowered by reducing frontal area.

CD = 1.2

CD = 1.7

574

FLUID MECHANICS

TA B L E 1 1 2

Representative drag coefficients CD for various three-dimensional bodies for Re * 104 based on the frontal area (for use

in the drag force relation FD # CD ArV 2/2 where V is the upstream velocity)

Cube, A # D 2

V

Laminar:

CD = 0.5

Turbulent:

CD = 0.2

CD

CD = 0.4

V

CD = 1.2

L/D

Laminar

Turbulent

0.75

1

2

4

8

0.5

0.5

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

D

CD = 0.5

Ellipsoid, A # pD 2/4

Hemisphere, A # pD 2/4

V

CD = 1.1

CD = 1.05

Sphere, A # pD 2/4

V

L/D

CD

1

2

5

10

40

!

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.2

D

L

L/D

CD

0.5

1

2

4

8

1.1

0.9

0.9

0.9

1.0

Feet

folded

back

Beak extended

forward

FIGURE 1120

Birds teach us a lesson on drag

reduction by extending their beak

forward and folding their feet

backward during flight.

If you watch the Olympic games, you have probably observed many

instances of conscious effort by the competitors to reduce drag. Some examples: During 100-m running, the runners hold their fingers together and

straight and move their hands parallel to the direction of motion to reduce

the drag on their hands. Swimmers with long hair cover their head with a

tight and smooth cover to reduce head drag. They also wear well-fitting

one-piece swimming suits. Horse and bicycle riders lean forward as much

as they can to reduce drag (by reducing both the drag coefficient and frontal

area). Speed skiers do the same thing. Fairings are commonly used in motorcycles to reduce drag.

The term drag coefficient is commonly used in various areas of daily life.

Car manufacturers try to attract consumers by pointing out the low drag

coefficients of their cars (Fig. 1121). The drag coefficients of vehicles

575

CHAPTER 11

Streamlined body, A ! pD 2/4

V

Parachute, A ! pD 2/4

CD = 0.04

V, m/s

CD

10

20

30

0.41.2

0.31.0

0.20.7

CD = 1.3

Person (average)

Bikes

CD = 0.5

Sitting: CDA ! 6 ft2 ! 0.56 m2

CD = 0.9

Upright:

A = 5.5 ft2 = 0.51 m2

CD = 1.1

Drafting:

A = 3.9 ft2 = 0.36 m2

CD = 0.50

Racing:

A = 3.9 ft2 = 0.36 m2

CD = 0.9

With fairing:

A = 5.0 ft2 = 0.46 m2

CD = 0.12

Minivan:

CD = 0.4

CEN_4

Passenger car:

CD = 0.3

CD = 1.4

range from about 1.0 for large semitrailers to 0.4 for minivans and 0.3 for

passenger cars. In general, the more blunt the vehicle, the higher the drag

coefficient. Installing a fairing reduces the drag coefficient of tractor-trailer

rigs by about 20 percent by making the frontal surface more streamlined. As

a rule of thumb, the percentage of fuel savings due to reduced drag is about

half the percentage of drag reduction.

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