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Physical principles of hovercraft?

  1. Jun 14, 2007 #1
    Ok, plans for constructing your own hovercraft are ubiquitous on the internet these days. Most of them give simplistic explanations of how the craft work, but I'd like to know a little more. What kind of knowledge does one need to understand hovercraft in a precise mathematical way?

    I'm sorry if my question is vague or poorly phrased. I guess what I'm looking for is a little direction, i.e. that I should familiarize myself with such-and-such equations from fluid mechanics. My physics education is rather limited (I've taken a single course on mechanics for first-year engineers), but I've taken several classes on calculus (single and multivariable), linear and non-linear ODEs, and an introductory course to PDEs. For the record I've at least heard of the Navier-Stokes equations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2007 #2


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    Gold Member

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
  4. Jun 15, 2007 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hovercraft aren't very difficult - all you need it is static pressure and airflow from Bernoulli's equation. Static pressure multiplied by the skirt area gives you lift.
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