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What's wrong with this idea?

  1. Nov 21, 2005 #1
    I've had this idea for a while. I can't see anything wrong with it. Maybe someone here can tell me if it's unsound.

    The idea is based on the dimpling of a golf ball. To my knowledge the dimpling of a golf ball reduces air friction and lets it go farther. I even heard of someone dimpling a bat so they could swing faster. Some golf club heads have dimples too.

    My idea is to dimple the skin of a jet airliner. Since they pretty much cruise at a constant airspeed the dimpling could be optimized for that speed to reduce air friction and increase fuel efficiency. Is there some physics reason why this wouldn't work?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2005 #2


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    Aircraft are pretty well thought-out from an aerodynamic aspect already. The main concern that I would have regarding dimpling is that it would mess up the lift factor of the wings and control surfaces.
  4. Nov 21, 2005 #3
    Possible but dimples don't keep a golf ball from lifting. Also the fuselage isn't a lifting surface.
  5. Nov 21, 2005 #4


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  6. Nov 21, 2005 #5


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    It depends. The space shuttle is a lifting body.

    EDIT: Deleted. The link Zapper posted says it better than I can.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2005
  7. Nov 21, 2005 #6


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