Unformatted text preview: Lecture F4 Mud: Dimensional Analysis
(37 respondents)
1. I don’t understand what � products are. How do you get them. (3 students)
A � product is a dimensionless combination of parameters which inﬂuence a physical
situation (e.g. ﬂow over an airfoil). They can be obtained by inspection, by trial &
error, by insight, or by linear algebra as a last resort (see Anderson 1.7). The choices
are not unique. Instead of V� /a� , we could have chosen a� /V� . But V /a is more
traditional, so that’s what we use.
2. Can I get additional � products just by combining the ones I already have?
(1 student)
No. You can get alternative � products that way, but not additional ones. Here are
two p ossible sets you can use:
Set 1
�1
�2
�3 Set 2
= � = �� V� c/µ� = V� /a� �1
�2
�3 = �2
= �� a� c/µ�
= �a� /V� Set 2 is usable, but Set 1 is traditional and easier to use (that’s why it’s traditional!).
3. What is the function g (c� , �, M� , Re) = 0? ( student)
¯
This is a conceptual way to say that the four parameters interrelate in some way
for a physical situation. The amazing thing is that with Dimensional Analysis (and
Buckingham Pi Theorem) we are able to identify these parameters without knowing
what the dependencies actually are quantitatively.
4. It seems we’re extrapolating a lot of info from small observations? (3 stu
dents)
Yep. Dimensional analysis is amazingly powerful.
5. How does Buckinghams’ Theorem relate to Dimensional Analysis? (1 stu
dent)
B’s Theorem is one step of Dimensional Analysis. Other steps include identifying
parameters, deriving other dimensionless quantities (Cp , etc.)
6. When two airfoils have the same � products, what do you mean that they
are the “same”? (1 student)
They may look diﬀerent, but they are the same only when expressed, examined, or
plotted in the dimensionless variables. For example, L1 �= L2 , but c�1 = c�2 .
7. What is this stuﬀ used for? (3 students)
Lots of uses. One use is applying wind tunnel data to full size. To get fullsize lift L1
from the windtunnel lift L2 , we would compute
CL2 = L2 / 0.5�2 V22 S2
C L1 = C L2
L1 = 0.5�1 V12 S1 8. How does the air viscosity vary with temperature? (1 student)
It’s a complicated relationship. Look up “Sutherland’s Law” for gasses. We can fre quently approximate this as µ � T , so gas viscosity always increases with increasing
temperature. Liquid viscosity usually decreases with increasing temperature.
9. What does Reynolds Number mean? (1 student)
It’s a measure of how “viscous” or “sticky” the ﬂow is, or how big inertial forces are
relative to viscous or friction forces. This comparison depends not only on the viscosity
of the ﬂuid, but also on density, velocity, and body size. The Reynolds Number lumps
all these eﬀects into one signiﬁcant parameter.
10. Can you bring more demos to class? (1 student)
I will if it’s feasible. Unfortunately, inclass wind tunnel demos are not very practical.
The small tunnel we had in class is too small for most demos of interest.
11. No mud (18 students) ...
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 Fall '05
 MarkDrela
 Buckingham π theorem

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