# Estimate drag force on car.

Let the car’s principle dimension be R, which is to say “consider a spherical car”, [ R ] = [ L] = [characteristic length of body]; [η ] = [ ML−1T −1 ] = [fluid viscosity]; (1.1) [v ] = [ LT −1 ] = [velocity of body]; [ ρ ] = [ ML−3 ] = [fluid-density]; Force: estimate the force by considering continuity, J p ≡ η = [ ML−1T −2 ] = [momentum current] ~ P = [MT −2 L−1 ] = [pressure]; J p ~ P;
J p = η∇v ~ η v / R; J p ~ P → P ~ η v / R

(1.2) (1.3)

Surface area, S: let the body be approximately spherical. Then, we can immediately compute resistive force S ~ 4π R 2 → F ~ PS = (η v / R ) ⋅ (4π R 2 ) = 4πη vR ; Compare: exact F for sphere is: F = 6πη vR ; (1.4) Reynold’s number: Using a power-law-ansatz for a dimensionless quantity, we form the Reynold’s number as, Re = [Reynold's number] = v a R bη c ρ d = LaT − a Lb M c L− cT − c M d L−3d → (a, b, c, d ) = (1,1, −1,1) → Re = vR ρ / η ; (1.5) Let Ν ≡ η / ρ , the “dynamic viscosity”. We know v = 60 mph = 27 m , and R could be about 2 meters. Thus, it s

remains to estimate the dynamic viscosity, which has units of L2T −1 , the same as diffusivity. Using DA again, [Ν ] = L2T −1 ~ ℓvRMS = [mean free path][RMS thermal velocity] (1.6) The RMS-velocity is well-known to be T = U therm → 1 mv 2 = 3 k BT ↔ v = 2 2
3k B T m

≡ vRMS , in which

m ≈ 0.3mO2 + 0.7 mN 2 , and mO2 = 5.3 × 10−26 kg ≈ 16 mN 2 . The mean free path can be estimated by considering a 14

typical atom of air, saying that it sweeps out a cylinder of space of volume V ~ nV −1 , where nV is the numberdensity of atoms, meaning V = π r 2 ⋅ ℓ = nV ↔ ℓ = (π r 2 nV )−1 . The cross section of the molecule r could be estimated by considering the n = 2 level of atomic states, E2 =
1 22

E1 = 2 V = 2 T (c.f., virial theorem) in

which E1 = −13.6 eV , and V = V (r ) = kZe 2 / r , yielding,
r~ kZe 2 (9 × 109 )( 7 +8 )(1.6 × 10−19 )2 2 = = 6.4 nm = 128 Bohr radii −19 1 V ) 2+1 (13.6)(1.6 × 10 2

Meanwhile: the ideal gas law gives us nV as: PV = Nk BT ↔ nV = N / V = P / (k BT ) . So, we finally estimate the dynamic viscosity as, 3k BT / m 3k BT / m 3 (0.026 ×1.6 ×10−19 J )3/ 2 1 m2 Ν~ = kZe2 2 P = = 1.64 ×10−7 (1.7) N π r 2 nV π ( V ) kBT π (6.4×10−9 m)2 (1×105 m2 ) 0.3 + 14 0.7 5.3 ×10−26 kg s 16 We anticipate a very high reynold’s number, vR (27 m )(2m) s Re = = = 3.3 × 109 → F ~ πη R × (Re) × v = πΝ (Re) × Rv ρ = πΝ (Re) × RvmnV ; (1.8) −7 Ν 1.64 × 10

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