Aerodynamics Lab 1

Cylinder Lift and Drag

David Clark
Group 1
MAE 449 – Aerospace Laboratory

Abstract
The lift and drag coefficients are non-dimensional parameters which describe the forces acting on a
body in a fluid flow. A cylinder is an excellent specimen to study these forces due to the geometric
simplicity, as well as steady continuity across the entire body. Calculating these parameters can be an
arduous task, however maintaining steady, incompressible, and irrotational flow with negligible body
forces allow the use of the ideal gas law, Bernoulli’s equation, and Sutherland’s viscosity correlation.
Using the newly simplified expressions for Cl and Cd, the lift and drag coefficient, the results were
calculated using simple pressure measurements along with simple parameters describing the laboratory
testing conditions. The lift and drag coefficient of a cylinder with a diameter of 0.75 inches in flow with a
Reynolds number of 30,000 was 4.639x10-2 and 69.41 respectively.

2|Page

Contents
Abstract .................................................................................................................................................. 2
Introduction and Background................................................................................................................. 4
Introduction........................................................................................................................................ 4
Governing Equations .......................................................................................................................... 4
Similarity ............................................................................................................................................. 5
Aerodynamic Coefficients .................................................................................................................. 5
Equipment and Procedure ..................................................................................................................... 6
Equipment .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Experiment Setup ............................................................................................................................... 6
Basic Procedure .................................................................................................................................. 6
Data, Calculations, and Analysis ............................................................................................................. 7
Raw Data ............................................................................................................................................ 7
Preliminary Calculations ..................................................................................................................... 7
Results .................................................................................................................................................. 10
ANSYS CFD ............................................................................................................................................ 14
Conclusions........................................................................................................................................... 16
References ............................................................................................................................................ 16
Raw Data .............................................................................................................................................. 16

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Introduction and Background
Introduction
The following laboratory procedure explores the aerodynamic lift and drag forces experienced by a
cylinder placed in a uniform free-stream velocity. This will be accomplished using a wind tunnel and
various pressure probes with a small brass cylinder as the subject of study.
When viscous shear stresses act along a body, as they would during all fluid flow, the resultant force
can be expressed as a lift and drag component. The lift component is normal to the airflow, whereas the
drag component is parallel.
To further characterize and communicate these effects, non-dimensional coefficients are utilized.
For example, a simple non-dimensional coefficient can be expressed as 
= 

1 
2 
  

Equation 1

where F is either the lift or drag forces, AREF is a specified reference area, ρ is the density of the fluid, and
V is the net velocity experienced by the object.

Governing Equations
To assist in determining the properties of the working fluid, air, several proven governing
equations can be used, including the ideal gas law, Sutherland’s viscosity correlation, and Bernoulli’s
equation. These relationships are valid for steady, incompressible, irrotational flow at nominal
temperatures with negligible body forces.
The ideal gas law can be used to relate the following 
= 
Equation 2

where p is the pressure of the fluid, R is the universal gas constant (287 J/(kg K)), and T is the
temperature of the gas. This expression establishes the relationship between the three properties of air
that are of interest for use in this experiment.

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Another parameter needed is the viscosity of the working fluid. Sutherland’s viscosity
correlation is readily available for the testing conditions and can be expressed as 
= 

. 

1+ 

Equation 3

where b is equal to 1.458 x 10-6 (kg K^(0.5))/(m s) and S is 110.4 K.
Finally, Bernoulli’s equation defines the total stagnation pressure as
1 
=  + 

2
Equation 4

Similarity
Using the previous governing equations, we can use the Reynolds number. The Reynolds
number is important because it allows the results obtained in this laboratory procedure to be scaled to
larger scenarios. The Reynolds number can be expressed as 
= 

 

Equation 5

where c is a characteristic dimension of the body. For a cylinder, this dimension will be the diameter. As
a result, the Reynolds number based on diameter is referenced as ReD.

Aerodynamic Coefficients
Three aerodynamic coefficients are used to explore the lift and drag forces on the test cylinder.
First, the pressure coefficient expresses the difference in local pressure, the pressure at one discrete
point on the cylinder, over the dynamic pressure. 
= 

− 
1 
2 


Equation 6

The theoretical value for Cp can be calculated as 
= 1 − 4 !"
#180° − '(
Equation 7

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The pressure coefficient can be used in the determination of the 2-D lift coefficient, Cl.
1 
) = * #'( !"#'(+,
2 
Equation 8

Finally, the drag coefficient can be expressed as
1 
. = * #'(/ #'(+,
2 
Equation 9

Equipment and Procedure
Equipment
The following experiment used the following equipment:

A wind tunnel with a 1-ft x 1-ft test section

Smooth, ¾ inch diameter brass cylinder with a pressure tap at mid-span

A transversing mechanism to move the pitot tube to various sections of the test section

A Pitot-static probe

Digital pressure transducer

Data Acquisition (DAQ) Hardware

Experiment Setup
Before beginning, the pressure and temperature of laboratory testing conditions was measured and
recorded. Using equations 2 and 3, the density and viscosity of the air was calculated.
The UAH wind tunnel contains cutouts to allow the brass rod to be mounted inside the test section.
A degree wheel is rigidly attached to cylinder such that the angle at which the pressure tap is exposed in
relation to the fluid flow can easily be adjusted and measured.

Basic Procedure
To ensure the working flow is relatively laminar and within a range acceptable for study, the
procedure initiated flow with a Reynolds number of 30,000. The velocity at which the laboratory air
must be accelerated was determined by solving equation 5 for velocity. First, the density and viscosity of
the air must be calculated using equations 2 and 3 respectively.
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Using the DAQ hardware, the difference in pressure between the pressure port and the reference
pitot tube was recorded for every 15 degrees of cylinder rotation. The raw data from this step is
included in the data section.

Data, Calculations, and Analysis
Raw Data
The following table catalogs the pressure read by the DAQ hardware for every 15 degrees of cylinder
rotation. Three data sets were taken to ensure integrity.
Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Data Set 1
Pressure (p)
349
285
90
-175
-400
-450
-400
-370
-390
-400
-410
-425
-440
-420
-410
-400
-385
-370
-400
-450
-400
-175
85
288
349

Data Set 2
Pressure (p)
350
286
81
-176
-395
-451
-403
-370
-385
-400
-413
-411
-420
-417
-416
-409
-399
-392
-396
-454
-405
-172
85
288
351

Data set 3
Pressure (p)
346
280
75
-176
-403
-452
-402
-370
-370
-395
-420
-431
-439
-420
-416
-395
-383
-371
-387
-422
-408
-172
90
288
348

Table 1

Preliminary Calculations
First, the density and viscosity of the air at laboratory conditions was calculated. This can easily be
accomplished using equation 2 and 3.

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=

99.5234
27 

=
= 1.171 ;
6
: 
287
296.158
278
Equation 10

>? 27 
. 
. <1.458 × 10 : A B#296.15 8( C
27 
=
=
= 1.828 × 10 

110.4 8
:
1+
1+
296.15 8

Equation 11

For a Reynolds number of 30,000, the velocity of the airflow must therefore be
27
#30000( <1.828 × 10 

:
: A
=
=
= 24.59
27 

<1.171 ; A #1.905 × 10>
:(
:
Equation 12

This value is determined using the definition of the Reynolds number where c, the reference diameter, is
the known value of 0.75 inches (converted in the equation to meters.) For reference, the value for q can
be calculated as
1
1
27
:
E = 
= <1.171 ; A 24.59 = 353.9534
2
2
:
Equation 13

All three data sets can be combined by averaging the three records for each angle.

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Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Pressure (p)
348
284
82
-176
-399
-451
-402
-370
-382
-398
-414
-422
-433
-419
-414
-401
-389
-378
-394
-442
-404
-173
87
288
349
Table 2

The value recorded by the DAQ represents the difference in pressure from the pressure port on the
cylinder to the pitot probe in the test section away from the cylinder. Inserting these values into
equation 6 will yield the pressure coefficient on the surface of the cylinder at the specified angle. For
example, the pressure coefficient for 0 degrees can be calculated as 
,.GH =

∆
34834
=
= 0.984
E 353.9534
Equation 14

The theoretical value for Cp at this angle can be calculated using equation 7. 
,.GH,JKGLMGJNOP) = 1 − 4 !"
#180° − '( = 1 − 4 !"
#180° − 0°( = 1.000
Equation 15

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Results
Using equation 6, the pressure coefficient for each 15 degree increment is given in the following
table.
Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Cp
0.984
0.802
0.232
-0.496
-1.129
-1.275
-1.135
-1.046
-1.079
-1.126
-1.171
-1.194
-1.224
-1.184
-1.170
-1.134
-1.099
-1.067
-1.114
-1.249
-1.143
-0.489
0.245
0.814
0.987

Cp (theoretical)
1.000
0.732
0.000
-1.000
-2.000
-2.732
-3.000
-2.732
-2.000
-1.000
0.000
0.732
1.000
0.732
0.000
-1.000
-2.000
-2.732
-3.000
-2.732
-2.000
-1.000
0.000
0.732
1.000

Table 3

A plot of Cp and the theoretical Cp over versus angle may better visualize the behavior of the
system.

10 | P a g e

Cp Versus Angle

1.500
1.000
0.500
0.000
30

60

90

120

150

180

210

240

270

300

330

360

Cp

-0.500 0
-1.000
-1.500
-2.000
-2.500
-3.000

Cp
-3.500

Angle (Degrees)
Figure 1

The theoretical values for Cp match the measured values at low angles on the leading face of the
cylinder. The flow separates at approximately 50 degrees, which correlates to the value of 55 degrees
which is anticipated from empirical charts.
Using a simple numerical integration technique, the integral value for lift as expressed in equation 7
can be determined using the following table.

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Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Cp
0.984
0.802
0.232
-0.496
-1.129
-1.275
-1.135
-1.046
-1.079
-1.126
-1.171
-1.194
-1.224
-1.184
-1.170
-1.134
-1.099
-1.067
-1.114
-1.249
-1.143
-0.489
0.245
0.814
0.987

Cp * sin(Θ)
0.000
0.207
0.116
-0.351
-0.977
-1.231
-1.135
-1.010
-0.934
-0.796
-0.585
-0.309
0.000
0.306
0.585
0.802
0.952
1.031
1.114
1.207
0.990
0.346
-0.122
-0.211
0.000

trap
1.556
2.425
-1.764
-9.963
-16.564
-17.747
-16.089
-14.581
-12.976
-10.361
-6.708
-2.317
2.299
6.686
10.402
13.155
14.873
16.090
17.407
16.471
10.015
1.674
-2.498
-1.580
0.000

Table 4

The Cp is repeated from the previous calculations. As sample calculation is given in equation 13. The
third column is the product the Cp for the corresponding angle and the sine of the angle. The fourth
column, labeled as the trap, is expressed as
QR4N = 

#'( ∙ !"#'( +  #'( ∙ !"#'(
N

2

NTU

× |'N + 'NTU |

Equation 16

To numerically integrates the integral of equation 7, Cl can be calculated as.
X

1 
) = − W QR4N = 4.639 × 10>

2
N

Equation 17

The lift coefficient lends some insight into the accuracy of the experiment. Since no lift is anticipated
for a stationary cylinder in steady flow, and deviation from a lift coefficient can be attributed to error.

12 | P a g e

A similar procedure can be used to determine the drag coefficient. The table below is used to
numerically integrate equation 7.

Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Cp
0.984
0.802
0.232
-0.496
-1.129
-1.275
-1.135
-1.046
-1.079
-1.126
-1.171
-1.194
-1.224
-1.184
-1.170
-1.134
-1.099
-1.067
-1.114
-1.249
-1.143
-0.489
0.245
0.814
0.987

Cp * cos(Θ)
0.984
0.774
0.201
-0.351
-0.564
-0.330
0.000
0.271
0.539
0.796
1.014
1.153
1.224
1.144
1.013
0.802
0.550
0.276
0.000
-0.323
-0.571
-0.346
0.212
0.786
0.987

trap
13.191
7.313
-1.128
-6.865
-6.706
-2.474
2.030
6.075
10.015
13.576
16.252
17.824
17.756
16.178
13.614
10.138
6.194
2.072
-2.425
-6.710
-6.878
-1.002
7.487
13.301

Table 5

An expression to numerically integrate the integral of equation 8 can be created using numerical
integration techniques. Cd can be calculated as
X

1 
. = W QR4N = 69.41
2
N

Equation 18

where the trap can be calculated as
QR4N = 

#'( ∙ / #'( +  #'( ∙ / #'(
N

2

NTU

× |'N + 'NTU |

Equation 19

13 | P a g e

ANSYS CFD
Below are screenshots taken from inputting the geometric and laboratory conditions into ANSYS
CFD 11. The explanation into the setup and validity of these results is beyond the scope of this lab,
however the results visually describe the phenomenon that results from the flow around the cylinder.
The first image is the vector field of the flow perpendicular to the length of the cyl
cylinder.
inder. The
separation, as well as the disturbance behind the cylinder is clearly visible.

Figure 2

The second image rotates the view to display an isometric view of the body
body.. The color gradient on
the body represents the pressure on the surface of the cylinder.

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Figure 3

The final image displays the pressure gradient across the aft side of the body.

Figure 4

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Conclusions
The lift and drag coefficient of a cylinder with a diameter of 0.75 inches in flow with a Reynolds
number of 30,000 is 4.639x10-2 and 69.41 respectively.

References

“Aerodynamics Lab 1 – Cylinder Lift and Drag”. Handout

Raw Data
Aero Lab 1
Group 1
Fall 07
p
t
rho
u
q
V

99500
23
1.171
1.828E-05
354
24.59

R=
b=
S=

287
0.000001458
110.4

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Angle (Θ)
0
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300
315
330
345
360

Data Set 1
Pressure (p)
349
285
90
-175
-400
-450
-400
-370
-390
-400
-410
-425
-440
-420
-410
-400
-385
-370
-400
-450
-400
-175
85
288
349

Data Set 2
Pressure (p)
350
286
81
-176
-395
-451
-403
-370
-385
-400
-413
-411
-420
-417
-416
-409
-399
-392
-396
-454
-405
-172
85
288
351

Data set 3
Pressure (p)
346
280
75
-176
-403
-452
-402
-370
-370
-395
-420
-431
-439
-420
-416
-395
-383
-371
-387
-422
-408
-172
90
288
348

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