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In fluid dynamics, the drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment such as air or water. It is used in the drag equation where lower drag coefficient indicates the object will have less aerodynamic or hydrodynamic drag. The drag coefficient is always associated with a particular surface area.

figure 1: Measured drag Coefficient The drag coefficient of any object comprises the effects of the two basic contributors to fluid dynamic drag: skin friction and form drag. The drag coefficient of a lifting airfoil or hydrofoil also includes the effects of lift-induced drag. The drag coefficient of a complete structure such as an aircraft also includes the effects of interference drag. The drag equation:

is essentially a statement that the drag force on any object is proportional to the density of the fluid and proportional to the square of the relative speed between the object and the fluid.

Cd is not a constant but varies as a function of speed, flow direction, object position, object size, fluid density and fluid viscosity. Speed, kinematic viscosity and a characteristic length scale of the object are incorporated into a dimensionless quantity called the Reynolds number or is thus a function of . In compressible flow, the speed of sound is relevant and . only depends on the Reynolds number , function of Mach number . is also a

For a certain body shape the drag coefficient Mach number

and the direction of the flow. For low Mach number

, the drag coefficient within a practical can

is independent of Mach number. Also the variation with Reynolds number

range of interest is usually small, while for cars at highway speed and aircraft at cruising speed the incoming flow direction is as well more-or-less the same. So the drag coefficient often be treated as a constant. For a streamlined body to achieve a low drag coefficient the boundary layer around the body must remain attached to the surface of the body for as long as possible, causing the wake to be narrow. A high form drag results in a broad wake. The boundary layer will transition from laminar to turbulent providing the Reynolds number of the flow around the body is high enough. Larger velocities, larger objects, and lower viscosities contribute to larger Reynolds numbers. For other objects, such as small particles, one can no longer consider that the drag coefficient is constant, but certainly is a function of Reynolds number. At a low Reynolds number, the flow around the object does not transition to turbulent but remains laminar, even up to the point at which it separates from the surface of the object. At very low Reynolds numbers, without flow separation, the drag force viscosity fluids. is proportional to instead of ; for a sphere this is known as Stokes law. Reynolds number will be low for small objects, low velocities, and high

Figure 2: Flow past a Circular Cylinder at various Reynolds Numbers, continued

Figure 3 : Flow past a Circular Cylinder at various Reynolds Numbers

A equal to 1 would be obtained in a case where all of the fluid approaching the object is

brought to rest, building up stagnation pressure over the whole front surface. The top figure shows a flat plate with the fluid coming from the right and stopping at the plate. The graph to the left of it shows equal pressure across the surface. In a real flat plate the fluid must turn around the sides, and full stagnation pressure is found only at the center, dropping off toward the edges as in the lower figure and graph. Only considering the front size, the to ambient). The overall of a real flat plate would be less than 1; except that there will be suction on the back side: a negative pressure (relative of a real square flat plate perpendicular to the flow is often given as for some shapes can change with the Reynolds number 1.17. Flow patterns and therefore and the roughness of the surfaces.


It is a general experience that a body meets some resistance when it is forced to move through a fluid especially liquid, such as difficulty to walk in water because of the much greater resistance it present rather than air. It is found that drag coefficient much convenient to work with dimensionless unit as it a function of Reynolds number. The part of drag that is directly to wall shear stress is called skin friction

drag (or friction drag) as it caused by frictional effects, and the part is directly due pressure is known as pressure drag (known as form drag due to strong dependence on the form or the shape of the body).

Drag coefficient:

Friction drag coefficient:

Pressure drag coefficient:

When the friction and pressure drag coefficients or forces are presented, total drag coefficients or drag force can be determined. The drag force is the net force exerted by a fluid on a body in the direction of flow due to the combined effects of wall shear and pressure forces.

Total drag coefficients;

Total drag force;

The contribution of friction drag is less at higher Reynolds number or might negligible at very high Reynolds number due to pressure drag. While at low Reynolds number, especially highly streamlined bodies case such as airfoils, is due to friction drag, bodies with larger surface area result a larger friction drag, since friction drag is proportional to the surface area. The pressure drag is proportional to the frontal area and to the difference between the pressure acting on the front and back of the immersed body. The pressures drag most significant when the velocity of the fluid is too high for the fluid to follow the curve of the body, and at some point, the fluids break away from the body and create a very low pressure region in the back, in this case, due to large pressure difference between front and back sides of the body.

Consideration of the physical factors which influence the drag force leads to the listing of the following as principal variables: FD D u the drag force on the sphere the diameter of the sphere the free stream velocity of the fluid the density of the fluid the viscosity of the fluid

Therefore, the following may be written:

FD = f ( D, u , , ),
or, supplying some constants,
b FD = CD a u cd .



Using the mass-length-time systems of units and substituting the proper dimensions,
ML L M M = La 3 . 2 T T L LT
b c d


Since the dimensions must be the same on both sides of the equation, the exponents must be the same for each unit. Thus, For M: For L: For T:

1=c +d

1 = a + b 3c d
2 = b d .

Solving these equations in terms of d,

a = 2 d ; b = 2 d ; c =1 d .

2 d FD = CD 2d u 1d d .


Now, grouping variables according to exponents,

uD FD = CD u ,
2 2 d




is a dimensionless group called the Reynolds number. Regrouping, this equation

can be rewritten in the general form

FD = f ( Re ), 2 D 2u


that effectively reduces the number of variables to two dimensionless groups, which are, in turn, functions of density, viscosity, diameter, and velocity. By varying any one or more of these parameters, a correlation between the two groups can be formed. An expression for the drag force on a body is usually given in the form
FD = C D A
2 u



where, CD is a dimensionless drag coefficient, A is the frontal area of the body exposed to the flow (D2/4 for a sphere), gc is the gravitational constant which allows the left hand side to be expressed in units of force. This expression can be related to equation 0 by solving for the drag coefficient:

CD =

FD 2 g c 8 FD g c = f ( Re ). = 2 2 2 Au D u


Therefore, the drag coefficient itself is a function of the Reynolds number.

Based on experiments on to measure drag coefficient of sphere

Calculation of air density Assuming ideal gas conditions, the density of air can be calculated using =

Where R is the gas constant for air, R= 53.34

Calculation of velocity pressure from manometer reading P= h

Calculation of free stream air velocity By neglecting compressibility effects, the free stream air velocity can be derived from the Bernoulli equation as:

Calculation of Reynolds number The Reynolds number based on the sphere diameter is defined by the equation

Re =


To measure drag coefficient of sphere as a function of reynolds number.


TYPE OF DRAG COEFFICENT MEASUREMENT Cylinder A water tunnel is used to analyze the effects of fluid flow over a cylinder. As the water circulates through the closed-loop system, the cylinder obstructs the path of the fluid flow causing the water to deviate from its otherwise uninterrupted flow path. The uniform velocity profile of the flow becomes non-uniform as the fluid passes by the cylinder. The drag caused by the cylinder can be calculated through two different methods: control surface analysis consisting of pressure measurements around the cylinder, and control volume analysis consisting of velocity measurements taken before and after the cylinder. These experimentally obtained pressure and velocity measurements provide the necessary data required to find the coefficient of drag of the cylinder for this experiment. With these two methods of obtaining the drag coefficient, the fluid flow around the cylinder can be observed, analyzed, and compared.

Sphere The Handbuch values are based on experiments with falling or fixed spheres; and differences in drag for rising and falling spheres have been previously observed by Hes selberg and Birkeland

and others. It thus seems that the flow around a rising sphere is somehow different from that around a falling one.

EXAMPLE OF EXPERIMENT Description of Experimental Setup

Figure 1 Low speed wind tunnel

A manually controlled variable speed wind tunnel similar to that shown in Figure 1 was used in this experiment. The wind tunnel was equipped with an integral force balance which measured both drag and lift forces and a multistation manometer tube bank to measure the velocity of the air stream. A separate pitot tube was used to verify the calibration of the built-in manometer. A mercury barometer was used to measure the atmospheric pressure and a thermometer was used to measure the air temperature.


1. Flotek 250 wind tunnel located in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (S/N FT250-2784) 2. 2.5-inch diameter smooth calibration sphere wind tunnel accessory 3. Pitot tube and differential manometer (Property tag BSW365-22984) 4. Mercury barometer fixed to the wall near the wind tunnel. 5. Mercury thermometer (Sargent brand, no tag or serial number)


Drag coefficients are used in the calculation of particle terminal settling velocity of solids and therefore used where the suspension or settling of solids particle will occur in chemical unit operations. There are hundred of correlations relating the drag coefficient to the particle Reynolds number and some form of measure of the particle shape (i.e sphericity). The particle terminal settling velocity in turn can be used to calculate the hindered settling velocity, so it can be used to help design solid-liquid mixers, clarifiers, thickeners, slurry transport in pipe (i.e design a slurry pump), solid-liquid filters, it can also be used to design pneumatic transport lines to name but a few. It can be used to help design unit operations where solid -fluid (liquid or gas) will need to be mixed, transported or separated. This topic is under the Fluid Mechanics branch. The drag force can be applied in many things with regard for chemical engineering. for example, in a stream of air Oxygen can be absorbed by another media, now knowing the drag force for air that will indicate along with diffusion rate of Oxygen into the media how much Oxygen has been transferred also. To calculate the temperature profile for some application that uses air as a cooling media, drag force can be used. In separation drag force will tell how much component A has moved a long with component B depending on the drag force of B.


Less road spray (i.e. better visibility for other road users) Reduced dirt deposition on the tractor and semi-trailer Reduced sensitivity to crosswinds, hence better steering

Stability, less tyre wear and tear and improved driving comfort Better safety (additional crumple zones, better protection against blind spot accidents) Lower noise


The drag coefficient (Cd) of a car tells you how well it cuts through the air. In other words, how aerodynamically efficient it is. A low Cd figure brings three main benefits higher top speed, better fuel consumption and quieter cruising. A Lexus car spends thousands of hours in the wind tunnel during its aerodynamic development. Yet achieving the optimum body shape is only the first of the refinements that ensure the car slips through the air with the minimum of effort. The precise and narrow gaps in Lexus bodywork also contribute significantly. So do flush-fitting windows and trim, tyre spoilers behind the front wheels and ahead of the rear wheels, underbody panels that streamline chassis components, and rear spoilers that reduce turbulence as the airflow leaves the car.


D. M. Smiadak.2008. ,Fluid Mechanic: Drag Coefficient of a Sphere. G. Bruschi, T. Nishioka, K.Tsang and R. Wang.,2003. A Comparison Of Analytical Methods. Drag Coefficient Of A Cylinder. A.W. Preukschat, 1962. Measurements of Drag Coefficients for Falling And Rising Spheres In Free Motion. California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California Joe, 2002. Determination of the Drag Coefficient of a Sphere.College of Engenieering and Sciences,Louisiana Tech University.