# Aerodynamics project help

Hello! I am a High School senior planning on doing a project for my Diploma which is based on Aerodynamics.

Now, I have looked into the basic physics that goes behind airfoils and their forces. However, I am looking for an experiment idea that is somewhat higher level (maybe undergrad level). I will have a sub-sonic Wind Tunnel have at my disposal.

I also tried to one experiment in which I made some airfoils out of some styrofoam and tried to measure how the length of the airfoil affect the forces acting on it using a wind tunnel. However, I was not able to keep the airfoil stable which later forced me to ditch this experiment.

Is there any experiment idea that you guys can tell me which would be fun and challenging to investigate in Aerodynamics? Literally anything :)

Thanks a Lot

berkeman

.Scott
Homework Helper
You have my sympathies.
I actually tried doing something like this a couple of years ago. I was doing a Boy Scout aeronautics badge series.
The problem I had was not wind tunnel available - so you're up on me there.

Here are some links that describe where lift does and does not come from.
https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/wrong1.html
https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/wrong2.html
https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/wrong3.html

https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/right1.html
https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/right2.html

That last one should be easy to demonstrate in a wind tunnel.
But a couple of points:
1) Use a fairly high wind velocity - I would say over 40mph. This was the main problem I ran into.
2) Use smooth surface wings - and you will want to measure the changing forces on those models. I used wooden models. Perhaps if you have a 3d printer at your disposal, you could use that - but smooth the surface.

It would be good if your wind tunnel had a large window on the side. To show a change in the wind direction, you can use streamers. Take pictures to document what you see.

Gold Member
You did attempt that previous experiment but you never actually provided a photo or drawing of your setup in your previous thread on this topic. Your problem was a fixable one and you just never gave us enough information to help you fix it.

Tom.G and anorlunda
@.Scott Thanks a Lot! I will surely look into this!
@boneh3ad The problem of stability that I had was fixed hence I didn't continue that discussion. However, the graphs of Lift and Drag force were ambiguous hence the experiment was abandoned.

Gold Member
Well I suppose my point is that airfoil experiments in wind tunnels are done every single day. Your problems were solvable.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
The problem of stability that I had was fixed hence I didn't continue that discussion. However, the graphs of Lift and Drag force were ambiguous hence the experiment was abandoned.

What prevents something like that happening on a new experiment? Experimental physics can be tricky and experiments can fail. I think you'll learn more by figuring out why the first experiment didn't work, than by searching around for other difficult experiments.

You'll also do better if you have a local mentor or teacher who can be there with you rather than advice from the Internet.

berkeman
Mentor
Is there any experiment idea that you guys can tell me which would be fun and challenging to investigate in Aerodynamics? Literally anything :)
You could do some experiments with racing bicyclists and drafting strategies...

Gold Member
You could do some experiments with racing bicyclists and drafting strategies...

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Tom.G and berkeman
hmmm27
Gold Member
airfoil aspect ratio vs ground effect ?