Is there a way to calculate the Drag coefficient from any given object?

In summary, the conversation revolves around creating a simulation in Unity for a high school project that accurately simulates an airplane's flight using physics equations. The main focus is on calculating the drag coefficient, which is difficult to do in real time for arbitrary shapes and flying conditions. The conversation also mentions using predefined airplane models and storing their aerodynamic characteristics to simplify the process. The use of MATLAB and Flightgear are suggested as resources for this project.
  • #1
BasNijhof
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Hi guys, for my final high school project I want to create a simulation in Unity (A game engine) in which you should be able to make an airplane fly with extremely accurate physics. In the regular formula for Drag is: Fd = 1/2 * ρ * v^2 * Cd * A. I can get all these things except the Drag coefficient. How could I possibly calculate or at least estimate the Drag coefficient with just an airplane model in Unity?
 
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  • #2
BasNijhof said:
Hi guys, for my final high school project I want to create a simulation in Unity (A game engine) in which you should be able to make an airplane fly with extremely accurate physics.
And you are only asking about drag, not lift?

This is a software that does what you want, but it's rather complex:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Plane_(simulator)#Flight_model
 
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  • #3
Just to be clear, with high school you mean the dutch 'vwo' (secondary education) and not the dutch 'hogeschool' (university of applied sciences)?

Computing the drag in real time is practically impossible for arbitrary shapes and flying conditions... It is even very difficult to compute it in the first place. However, if you are working with predefined airplane models, you can store the known aerodynamic characteristics of such an airplane in arrays and matrices and work with only the equations of motion of the plane to determine its flight path and response, without solving the aerodynamics around the plane. For instance a 6dof model, which is the basis of many flight simulators. Is this what you are after? This is already very challenging for a high school student in my opinion.
Some examples in MATLAB are given by Stengel, who also happens to have written a book about it. Here is some free information from one of his lectures:
http://www.stengel.mycpanel.princeton.edu/MAE331.html
http://www.stengel.mycpanel.princeton.edu/MAE331Lectures.html

Hope this helps...
 
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Related to Is there a way to calculate the Drag coefficient from any given object?

1. How is the drag coefficient defined?

The drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that represents the resistance of an object moving through a fluid, such as air or water. It is defined as the ratio of the drag force acting on the object to the product of the fluid density, the velocity of the object, and the reference area of the object.

2. Can the drag coefficient be calculated for any object?

Yes, the drag coefficient can be calculated for any object as long as its shape and dimensions are known. However, the accuracy of the calculation may vary depending on the complexity of the object and the assumptions made in the calculation.

3. What factors affect the drag coefficient of an object?

The drag coefficient of an object is affected by several factors, including its shape, size, surface roughness, and the properties of the fluid it is moving through. The angle of attack, or the angle at which the object meets the fluid flow, also plays a significant role in determining the drag coefficient.

4. How do you calculate the drag coefficient of an object?

The drag coefficient can be calculated using various methods, such as wind tunnel testing, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, or analytical equations. These methods involve measuring or estimating the drag force acting on the object and using it to determine the drag coefficient.

5. Why is the drag coefficient important?

The drag coefficient is an essential parameter in the study of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics. It helps engineers and scientists understand the drag forces acting on objects and how they can be reduced to improve the performance and efficiency of various systems, such as airplanes, cars, and sports equipment.

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