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Drag Coefficient Prediction
Chapter 1
The ideal force acting on a surface positioned perpendicular to the airflow is equal to a dynamic
pressure, denoted by ‘q’, times the area of that surface. Dynamic pressure is onehalf the square of the flow
velocity times the density of the fluid. In equation form this is:
2
2
1
V q ρ ·
Where,
· ρ Air density, lb.sec
2
/ ft
4
· V Flow velocity, ft/sec
Imagine putting your hand or a flat plate out the window of a car such that the flat surface is
positioned normal to the airflow. The total force required to hold it in position when meeting the oncoming
airflow will be approximately equal to that defined above. Realistically, the actual force is dependent on
the shape of the object, and the 3dimensional flow characteristics of the fluid (i.e.; flow relief, turbulent
and/or laminar flow, etc.). Often these influences are summed up in a single coefficient known as an
aerodynamic coefficient. In our particular case, we are interested in a drag force ‘D’, and likewise a drag
coefficient ‘C
D
’.
Depending on equation formulation and reference area, C
D
can take on different values. For
rockets, C
D
is typically based on the rocket’s maximum crosssection area. Most rockets are circular in
crosssection, therefore its crosssection area is described by the equation for an area of a circle. In general,
the equation for drag ‘D’ is given by:
2
R qC A qC D
D D
π · ·
Where,
· q Dynamic pressure, lb. / ft
2
·
D
C Drag coefficient
· A Reference area, ft
2
2
R π ·
· π Constant Pi ≈ 3.14159
· R Radius of maximum crosssection, ft
Most of the equations presented in this chapter are empirically based (based on physical data).
The majority of the equations will be simply presented and not derived, particularly those describing
Friction Drag. Others, such as those describing Base Drag and Wave Drag, will be derived as we go
along. I believe that the source for the basis of most of these equations is the U.S Air Force methodology
known as DATCOM (Reference 4). Many of these equations have been transcribed from hand written
notes that I had used in my past career as an aircraft conceptual designer with the U.S. Air Force, many
moons ago. The graphs of these notes have been transformed to equations for ease of writing computer
programs. I have deviated somewhat from the DATCOM methods for Base Drag estimation, and have
developed an approach that fits rocket data more accurately. A constant ‘K
F
‘ equal to 1.04 has been
adopted to estimate the Interference Drag contribution for rocket data.
2
Before we get into the details, it would be wise to discuss some terminology.
Many public or commercially available rocket performance programs require the user to input a
value of average drag coefficient ‘C
D
’. This is often a guess on the part of the user. However, more
sophisticated programs attempt to predict the time history of drag, and hence, a more precise time history of
the rocket’s performance. These programs have their equations embedded in the code, and do not attempt
to enlighten the user as to their degree of integrity or sophistication. For those of us who are of a nerdy and
curious nature, this just doesn’t meet our needs. In fact, some of you may wish to develop your own
custom software using the equations provided here.
We will limit our discussion to Zero Lift Drag or Parasite Drag, which is the total rocket drag
independent of lift. This occurs at zero Angle of Attack for rockets. Angle of Attack refers to the angle
of incidence between any lifting component (wing, fin, body, etc.) and its velocity vector. Induced Drag
is that drag associated with the generation of lift. We will not be dealing with Induced Drag. One of the
largest contributors to Zero Lift Drag over Subsonic speeds is Skin Friction Drag. Subsonic refers to
flight speeds well below the speed of sound. Skin Friction Drag is the drag resulting from viscous
shearing stresses acting over the surface of the rocket. Form Drag or Pressure Drag is the drag on a body
resulting from the summation of the static pressure acting normal to the rocket’s surfaces, resolved into the
direction opposite of flight. Base Drag is a contributor to Pressure Drag, and is attributed to the blunt aft
end of the rocket. Base Drag can be a significant contributor to the rocket’s overall drag during poweroff
flight (after engine burnout). Another contributor to Pressure Drag is Wave Drag. Wave Drag makes its
debut during Transonic speeds (about Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2) and through Supersonic speeds (above
Mach 1.2). Wave Drag is a Pressure Drag resulting from static pressure components located to either
side of compression or shock waves that do not completely cancel each other. Finally, the last drag
contributor we will consider is Interference Drag. Interference Drag results from two bodies in close
proximity, such as fin to body junctures and launch lug to body junctures. Specifically, we will account for
the following drag contributors:
• Skin Friction Drag (Viscous Effects)
• Base Drag (Pressure Drag increment due to blunt body during poweroff flight)
• Wave Drag (Pressure Drag increment due to compression or shock waves)
• Interference Drag (Drag increment due to bodies in close proximity)
Below is a typical flight history of drag versus Mach number.
In the above graph the rocket accelerates from a standstill on the launch pad to a maximum Mach
Number of about 1.6 (1218 mph!). This is depicted by the dashed curve. The rocket then begins to
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8
Mach Number, M
D
r
a
g
C
o
e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
t
,
C
d
Accelerated Flight
Decelerated Flight
3
decelerate, still under thrust flight, as depicted by the solid curve. Then at a Mach Number of about 1.25
(951 mph), the engine burn is complete and the rocket continues its deceleration under zero thrust flight.
At this point, the solid curve is displaced above the dashed curve, depicting a drag rise due to Base Drag.
This Base Drag is a result of transitioning from thrust flight to coast or zero thrust flight. The existence of
thrust, or lack thereof, can have a significant effect on the rocket’s drag coefficient for blunt aft bodies, as
in the case above.
Both curves exhibit a jump in drag coefficient over the range of about Mach 0.9 to 1.2. This is the
characteristic transonic region where Wave Drag makes its debut and may dominate. Again, the shape of
the fin and aft body region will have a significant effect on drag rise due to Wave Drag. Wave Drag can be
somewhat minimized by tailoring the shape of the fin and aft body geometry using a technique called Area
Ruling. Although I have used Area Ruling in some of my transonic rocket designs, its overall effect on the
rocket’s performance is minimal due to the short time spent in transonic flight. For most projects, time
spent in efforts such as Area Ruling would yield little return on investment.
There exists a steep increase in drag coefficient as the Mach Number approaches zero. This drag
rise is associated with small Reynolds Numbers. At very small Reynolds Numbers the momentum of the
airflow about the rocket is insufficient to remain attached to its surface and maintain well defined
streamlines, hence the flow separates and becomes turbulent. The result is an increase in Friction Drag.
The Reynolds Number is the ratio of inertia forces to viscous forces as a vehicle penetrates flow. In
mathematical form it is defined by,
µ
ρ L V
R
e
∞
·
Where,
· ρ Density of fluid
·
∞
V Free stream velocity of the fluid about the vehicle
· L Characteristic length of vehicle (rocket diameter)
· µ Absolute coefficient of viscosity
Reynolds Numbers are commo nly used as scaling factors to approximate similar flow conditions
in the laboratory (i.e., wind tunnel testing) for situations where it is difficult to recreate actual flow about
full scale bodies.
Mach Number is the ratio of the fluid velocity to the speedofsound in that fluid. The speedof
sound in a fluid is the speed at which a pressure disturbance is propagated through the fluid. In air, at
Standard Sea Level conditions, the speed of sound is about 762 mph or 1116.4 ft/s. If the fluid velocity
about an object is equal to the speedofsound of that fluid, then the fluid is said to be travelling at Mach
1.0 relative to that object.
Viscosity is a characteristic of a fluid described by the fluid’s ability to resist shear. A fluid
having high viscosity will better resist deformation under shear than a fluid having low viscosity. Viscosity
of a fluid is often measured by applying a pure torque to the fluid. If one were to integrate the product of
shear stresses times the distance to the center of applied torque over the fluid volume, the result would be
equal to the applied torque. Shear stress within a fluid is proportional to the gradient of the fluid velocity
acting normal to the shear plane. The constant of proportionality is known as the absolute coefficient of
viscosity ‘µ’. For the case of the applied torque, we define the shear stress as:
dr
du
µ τ ·
4
Where,
· µ Fluid coefficient of viscosity
· du Differential of fluid tangential velocity
· dr Differential of radial distance from torque center of
application
The Friction Drag previously mentioned is directly related to the shear stresses in the fluid. Without
viscosity, there would be no shear stres s and likewise no friction drag.
1.0 Friction Drag –
A given rocket’s drag will not only be a function of Mach Number, but also altitude. As altitude
changes, so does the air viscosity, speed of sound and air density. Viscosity, density and speed of sound
will play a role in the equations for drag as well as a strong dependence on Mach Number.
1.1 Body Friction Drag –
The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the rocket’s body
coefficient of drag due to friction.
· a Speed of sound, fps
45 . 1116 004 . 0 + − · h , if ft h 37000 ≤
08 . 968 · , if ft h ft 64000 37000 ≤ ≤
99 . 924 0007 . 0 + · h , if ft h 64000 ≥
Where,
h = altitude, ft
· ν Kinematic viscosity, ft
2
/s
b ah
e
+
· 000157 . 0
Where,
a = 0.00002503 and b = 0.0, For h ≤ 15000 feet
a = 0.00002760 and b = 0.03417, For 15000 ≤ h ≤ 30000 feet
a = 0.00004664 and b = 0.6882, For h ≥ 30000 feet
· * Rn Compressible Reynolds Number
) 002709 . 0 03829 . 0 2107 . 0 043 . 0 0283 . 0 1 (
12
5 4 3 2
M M M M M
aML
+ − + − + ·
ν
Where,
M = Mach Number
L = total length of rocket, inches
· * Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient
155079 . 0
* 037036 . 0
−
· Rn
· Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient
5
) 000549 . 0 00933 . 0 0632 . 0 1813 . 0 00798 . 0 1 ( *
5 4 3 2
M M M M M Cf + − + − + ·
· ) ( * term Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
5 . 2
10
log 62 . 1 89 . 1
1
]
]
]
,
`
.

+
·
K
L
Where,
K = 0.0, for smooth surface
= 0.00002 to 0.00008, for polished metal or wood
= 0.00016, for natural sheet metal
= 0.00025, for smooth matte paint, carefully applied
= 0.0004 to 0.0012, for standard camouflage paint
· ) (term Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
) 2044 . 0 1 (
) ( *
2
M
term Cf
+
·
· ) ( final Cf Final skin friction coefficient
, Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≥
), (term Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≤
· ) (body Cd
f
Body coefficient of drag due to friction Equation 1.1
( )
2 3
4
/ 0025 . 0
) / (
60
1 ) (
d
S
d L
d L
final Cf
B
π
]
]
]
+ + ·
Where,
d = maximum body diameter
L = total body length
S
B
= total wetted surface area of body
1.2 Fin Friction Drag –
The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the rocket’s total fin
coefficient of drag due to friction.
· a Speed of sound, as defined in Section 1.1 Body Friction Drag
L
d
6
· ν Kinematic viscosity, as defined in Section 1.1 – Body Friction Drag
· * Rn Compressible Reynolds Number
) 002709 . 0 03829 . 0 2107 . 0 043 . 0 0283 . 0 1 (
12
5 4 3 2
M M M M M
aMC
r
+ − + − + ·
ν
Where,
M = Mach Number
C
r
= Root chord of fin, inches
· * Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient
155079 . 0
* 037036 . 0
−
· Rn
· Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient
) 000549 . 0 00933 . 0 0632 . 0 1813 . 0 00798 . 0 1 ( *
5 4 3 2
M M M M M Cf + − + − + ·
· ) ( * term Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
5 . 2
10
log 62 . 1 89 . 1
1
]
]
]
,
`
.

+
·
K
C
r
Where,
K = 0.0, for smooth surface
= 0.00002 to 0.00008, for polished metal or wood
= 0.00016, for natural sheet metal
= 0.00025, for smooth matte paint, carefully applied
= 0.0004 to 0.0012, for standard camouflage paint
· ) (term Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
) 2044 . 0 1 (
) ( *
2
M
term Cf
+
·
· ) ( final Cf Final skin friction coefficient
, Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≥
), (term Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≤
· Rn Incompressible Reynolds Number
ν 12
r
aMC
·
r
t
C
C
· λ = Ratio of fin tip chord to root chord
7
·
λ
Cf Average flat plate skin friction coefficient for each fin panel
]
]
]
+ ·
) ( log
5646 . 0
1 ) (
10
Rn
final Cf , if 0 . 0 · λ
[ ]
( )
[ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ]
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
]
]
]
]
− +
−
−
·
6 . 3
10
6 . 3
10
2
6 . 2
10
6 . 2
10
2
2
6 . 2
10
) ( log
1
) ( log
5646 . 0
) ( log
1
) ( log
1
) ( log
) (
Rn Rn
Rn Rn
Rn
final Cf
λ
λ
λ
λ
λ
· ) ( fins Cd
f
Coefficient of friction drag for all fins Equation 1.2
2
2
4
4
5 1 8 . 0 60 1
d
S N
C
t
X
C
t
Cf
f f
r
c
t
r
π
λ
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

,
`
.

+ +
,
`
.

+ ·
Where,
t = Maximum thickness of each fin at root
C
r
=Fin root chord
r
c
t
c
t
C
X
X ·
·
c
t
X Distance from fin leading edge to maximum thickness
·
t
C Fin tip chord
N
f
= Number of fins
S
f
= Total wetted area of each fin
( )
t r
C C
b
+ ≈
2
d = Maximum diameter of rocket body
C
r
C
t
b/2
X
t/c
C
r
t
8
1.3 Protuberance Friction Drag –
Protuberances are components that are found on the exterior of a vehicle. An example of a
common protuberance for a rocket would be a launch lug. The contribution of a protuberance to drag is
often accounted for by its friction drag. Protuberances will also generate an incremental drag rise due to
the interaction of their pressure distributions and boundary layers with that of the host body. This
incremental drag rise is known as Interference Drag and is difficult to predict. A detailed analysis of
interference drag is beyond the scope of this text.
The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the coefficient of drag due
to a protuberance.
· a Speed of sound, as defined in Section 1.1 – Body Friction Drag
· ν Kinematic viscosity, as defined in Section 1.1 – Body Friction Drag
· * Rn Compressible Reynolds Number
) 002709 . 0 03829 . 0 2107 . 0 043 . 0 0283 . 0 1 (
12
5 4 3 2
M M M M M
aML
P
+ − + − + ·
ν
Where,
M = Mach Number
L
P
= Length of protuberance, inches
· * Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient
155079 . 0
* 037036 . 0
−
· Rn
· Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient
) 000549 . 0 00933 . 0 0632 . 0 1813 . 0 00798 . 0 1 ( *
5 4 3 2
M M M M M Cf + − + − + ·
· ) ( * term Cf Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
5 . 2
10
log 62 . 1 89 . 1
1
]
]
]
,
`
.

+
·
K
L
P
Where,
K = 0.0, for smooth surface
= 0.00002 to 0.00008, for polished metal or wood
= 0.00016, for natural sheet metal
= 0.00025, for smooth matte paint, carefully applied
= 0.0004 to 0.0012, for standard camouflage paint
· ) (term Cf Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness
) 2044 . 0 1 (
) ( *
2
M
term Cf
+
·
9
· ) ( final Cf Final skin friction coefficient
, Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≥
), (term Cf · if ) (term Cf Cf ≤
·
pro
Cf Friction coefficient of protuberance
1243 . 0
) ( 8151 . 0
−
,
`
.

·
p
pro
L
a
final Cf Cf
Where,
a = Distance from rocket nose to front edge of protuberance
L
p
= Length of protuberance
·
pro
Cd Drag coefficient of protuberance due to friction Equation 1.3
2
2
3
4
798 . 1 1
d
S
L
A
Cf
pro
p
pro
π
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

+ ·
Where,
A = Maximum crosssection area of protuberance
S
pro
= Wetted surface area of protuberance
d = Maximum rocket diameter
1.3 Drag due to Excrescencies –
Excrescencies include features such as scratches, gouges, joints, rivets, cover plates, slots, and
holes. These will be accounted for by assuming they are distributed over the wetted surface of the rocket.
The coefficient of drag for excrescencies is estimated with the equations below.
·
e
Cd Change is drag coefficient due to excrescencies Equation 1.4
2
4
d
S
K Cd
r
e e
π
·
Where,
S
r
= Total wetted surface area of rocket
d = Maximum diameter of rocket body
K
e
= Coefficient for excrescencies drag increment
, 00038 . 0 ·
e
K For M < 0.78
26717 . 0 2288 . 1 1062 . 2 5954 . 1 4501 . 0
2 3 4
− + − + − · M M M M
For 04 . 1 78 . 0 ≤ ≤ M
, 0018 . 0 0012 . 0 0002 . 0
2
+ − · M M For M > 1.04
d
a
L
p
10
1.4 Total Friction and Interference Drag Coefficient –
The total friction drag coefficient is assumed proportional to the sum of the drag coefficients for
the body, fin, protuberances, and excrescencies. The total skin friction drag coefficient with consideration
for interference effects is estimated with the following equation.
[ ]
e pro F f F f F
Cd Cd K fins Cd K body Cd Cd + + + · ) ( ) ( Equation 1.5
Where,
·
F
K Mutual interference factor of fins and launch lug with body
04 . 1 ≈
2.0 Base Drag Coefficient 
Base drag can be described as a change in mass momentum. Imagine laminar airflow traveling
over a smooth gradually contoured body at velocity when suddenly it encounters a blunt aft end where the
velocity drops to zero. The mass momentum (mass x velocity) changes abruptly, generating a force that
acts opposite to the direction of flight. Fortunately, and particularly in subsonic flow, Mother Nature helps
reduce the severity of this change in mass momentum through the generation of a boundary layer. Most
likely, the boundary layer is not laminar but turbulent and the momentum thickness is well developed. The
change in mass momentum at the blunt end is less severe with the advent of a fully developed boundary
layer. The resulting form drag is less severe as well. Unfortunately, nothing is free when it comes to
Mother Nature. The boundary layer is developed from the presence of viscosity. Recall that viscosity is
the culprit that causes skin friction drag. Generally, as friction drag increases the trend is a reduction in
base drag.
Base drag is difficult to predict. An attempt to find an existing method to estimate base drag that
correlates well with rocket data was unsuccessful. In lieu of continuing a search, an effort has been made
to formulate a method that would estimate base drag with reasonable correlation. The method described
below is divided into two regimes, the first for Mach Number less than or equal to 0.6, and the second for
Mach Number greater than 0.6.
2.1 Base Drag Coefficient for M < 0.6 –
Recall that for coasting flight, as friction drag increases, the tendency is for a reduction in base
drag. In fact, base drag is typically described as inversely proportional to the square root of the total skin
friction dragcoefficient. In the formulation given below, it is assumed that the base drag is inversely
proportional to the square root of the total skinfriction dragcoefficient, including interference effects.
Base drag is also related to the ratio of body base diameter to maximum body diameter. The following is a
general form of the equation for base drag.
F
n
b
b b
Cd
d
d
K M Cd
,
`
.

· < ) 6 . 0 ( Equation 1.6
Where,
K
b
= constant of proportionality
d
b
= base diameter of rocket at aft end
d = rocket maximum diameter
Cd
F
= total skinfriction dragcoefficient, including interference
n = exponent
11
The values for K
b
and n are given as 0.029 and 3.0 in Reference 6. The above equation using these values
does a poor job in predicting base drag for the “rocket type” shapes of References 1 and 5. As described in
Reference 5, base drag is strongly related to the rocket’s length to body ratio, where the length is taken aft
of the maximum bodydiameter position.
For the above two configurations, reasonable values of K
b
and n are:
]
]
]
+
,
`
.

·
−
0116 . 0 tan 0274 . 0
1
d
L
K
o
b
2733 . 0
6542 . 3
−
,
`
.

·
d
L
n
o
When using the above equations defining K
b
and n along with the general equation for
Cd
b
(M<0.6), the correlation as depicted by the graph below is reasonable.
d
b d
L
o
Configuration #1
L
o
d
b
d
Configuration #2
Cdb for Mach Number ~ 0.6
0
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.08
0.1
0.12
0.14
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14
Actual Cdb
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d
C
d
b
Line of Perfect Agreement
12
2.2 Base Drag Coefficient for M > 0.6 –
For Mach Numbers greater than 0.6, the base drag coefficient is calculated relative to the base
drag value at Mach = 0.6 (M = 0.6). Using the equation of Section 2.1 to calculate the base drag
coefficient at M = 0.6, the base drag coefficient for higher values of Mach Number is determined by
multiplying the value at M = 0.6 by the function f
b
.
( ) ( )
b b b
f M Cd M Cd 6 . 0 6 . 0 · · ≥ Equation 1.7
Where,
( )
0 . 6
6 . 0 8 . 215 0 . 1 − + · M f
b
, For 0.6 < M < 1.0
( ) ( ) ( ) 883917 . 1 1 4618 . 1 1 7938 . 3 1 0881 . 2
2 3
+ − + − − − · M M M f
b
,
For 1.0 < M < 2.0
( ) ( ) ( ) 64006 . 1 2 1115 . 0 2 7937 . 0 2 297 . 0
2 3
+ − − − − − · M M M f
b
,
For M > 2.0
The function f
b
is based on the sounding rocket data of Reference 1. A plot of f
b
against this sounding
rocket data is given below.
3.0 Transonic Wave Drag Coefficient –
The approach taken was to start with a “clean sheet of paper”. The DATCOM methods, as
recorded in my hand written notes, proved to predict the transonic drag rise reasonably well for the Hart
missile, designation L65931, of Reference 2. However, the method did not perform as well for a variety
of other configurations of References 1 and 5, including the variations of the Hart missile designation L
65930 of References 2 and 3. The depth of the DATCOM methods is beyond the scope of this effort.
The method presented here constitutes a series of equations that characterize the drag rise over the
transonic region. These equations are curve fits of actual trend data taken from a variety of rocket
configurations, and attempt to predict the drag rise with basic body dimensional data only. Equations bas ed
on curve fits of trend data can be dangerous and lead to erroneous results if used outside the range of
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
0 1 2 3 4 5
Mach Number 'M'
F
u
n
c
t
i
o
n
f
b
13
parameters used in their development. Specifically, the equations presented below should only be used for
rockets having a ratio of nose length to effective rocket length less than 0.6. It is guaranteed that the use of
these equations for rockets having a ratio greater than 0.6 will result in a truly bad answer. Equations
developed this way will tend to lack quantities that relate to the actual physics of the problem, so
extrapolation outside the database used in their development is a bad idea. Other methods with more
substance, such as DATCOM, may be capable of accounting for the effects of individual component
characteristics, such as fin sweep angle.
Drag rise over the transonic region can be predicted for a given Mach Number (M) and basic body
dimensions, using the following equations:
·
D
M Transonic drag divergence Mach Number
6817 . 0 136 . 0 0156 . 0
2
+
,
`
.

+
,
`
.

− ·
d
L
d
L
N N
Where,
·
N
L Length of rocket nose
d = Maximum Body Cross Section Diameter
·
F
M Final Mach Number of Transonic Region
0275 . 1 +
,
`
.

·
b
e
d
L
a
Where,
·
e
L Effective length of rocket
, 4 . 2 · a For 2 . 0 <
,
`
.

e
N
L
L
d
L
e
Configuration #1
L
e
= L
b
d
Configuration #2
L
N
L
N
L
b
14
, 348 . 36 07 . 264 94 . 321
2
−
,
`
.

+
,
`
.

− ·
e
N
e
N
L
L
L
L
For 2 . 0 ≥
,
`
.

e
N
L
L
, 05 . 1 − · b For 2 . 0 <
,
`
.

e
N
L
L
, 7434 . 1 369 . 18 634 . 19
2
+
,
`
.

−
,
`
.

·
e
N
e
N
L
L
L
L
For 2 . 0 ≥
,
`
.

e
N
L
L
· ∆
DMAX
C Maximum drag rise over transonic region
g
e
d
L
c
,
`
.

· , For 6 ≥
d
L
e
( )
g
c 6 · , For 6 <
d
L
e
Where,
642 . 15 734 . 51 676 . 50
2
+
,
`
.

−
,
`
.

·
b
N
b
N
L
L
L
L
c
7344 . 1 3108 . 1 2538 . 2
2
−
,
`
.

+
,
`
.

− ·
b
N
b
N
L
L
L
L
g
· ∆
T
Cd Transonic drag rise for given Mach Number ‘M’ Equation 1.8
, F C
DMAX
∆ · If
F D
M M M ≤ ≤
., 0 · If
D
M M < or
F
M M >
Where,
x x x x x F 1195 . 1 6321 . 8 946 . 24 543 . 24 3474 . 8
2 3 4 5
+ + − + − ·
( )
( )
]
]
]
−
−
·
D F
D
M M
M M
x
4.0 Supersonic Wave Drag Coefficient –
For all Mach Numbers greater than M
F
, the supersonic drag rise is assumed to equal the transonic
drag rise at Mach Number = M
F
. This greatly simplifies calculations, and the results compare well with
actual test data.
· ∆
S
Cd Supersonic drag rise for given Mach Number ‘M’ Equation 1.9
,
DMAX
C ∆ · If
F
M M ≥
., 0 · If
F
M M <
15
5.0 Total Drag Coefficient –
The rocket’s total drag coefficient for any given Mach Number is the summation of the individual
coefficients given by equations 1.5 to 1.9.
[ ]
S T b e pro F f F f D
Cd Cd Cd Cd Cd K fins Cd K body Cd C ∆ + ∆ + + + + + · ) ( ) (
Predictions of drag coefficient versus Mach Number were performed for the two freeflight rocket
configurations of Reference 2 and the sounding rocket of Reference 1. In all cases, it was not clear as to
the actual surface finish of the rocket. Therefore, the surface finish constant ‘K’ was adjusted until the
predicted drag coefficients approximated the measured values. Due to the level of sophistication of the
equations presented here, excellent agreement between prediction and measured data was not expected.
However, it was hoped that prediction of drag magnitude with configuration and variation with Mach
Number is reasonable; that is, the trends are correct. For accurate predictions more sophisticated methods
such as Finite Difference or Finite Element based Computational Fluid Dynamics should be employed.
The first example is the rocket configuration L65930 of NACA TN 3549, Reference 2. The
analysis suggested that the rocket surface finish must have been very smooth with very few scratches
and/or imperfections.
Drag Coefficient Prediction for L65930
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
0.3
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Mach No.
C
d
Prediction With Escrescenes Prediction Without Excrescences Measured Data
16
The Second example is the rocket configuration L65931, also of NACA TN 3549, Reference 2.
The final example is the 130mm diameter sounding rocket of Reference 1, “How to Make
Amateur Rockets”. The example compares predicted versus measured drag coefficient for both the thrust
(burn) and zerothrust (coast) phases. Here we can see that the drag rise over the transonic region is under
predicted for both burn and coast flight. The Mach Number at maximum drag rise is underpredicted as
well. The geometric configuration of this rocket falls outside the range of data for which the prediction
methods were developed. The methods were based on rocket configurations with nose cone length to total
Drag Coefficient Prediction for L65931
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6
Mach No.
C
d
Predicted Measured Data
17
rocket length ratios of 0.2 to 0.6. The 130mm diameter sounding rocket has a ratio of 0.143. The
predicted jump from the burn curve to coast curve compares well with that of the measured data over the
range of Mach Number.
Cd for the 130 mm Sounding Rocket
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2
Mach No.
C
d
Burn  Predicted Coast  Predicted
Coast  Measured Burn  Measured
18
REFERENCES
1. Wickman, John H.: How to Make Amateur Rockets, CP Technologies, 1997.
2. Hart, Roger G.: “Flight Investigation at Mach Numbers from 0.8 to 1.5 to Determine the
Effects of Nose Bluntness on the Total Drag of Two Fin Stabilized Bodies of Revolution”,
NACA Technical Note 3549, Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Langley Field, Virginia, June
1953.
3. Waliskog, Harvey A. and Hart, Roger G.: “Investigation of the Drag of BluntNosed Bodies
of Revolution in Free Flight at Mach Numbers form 0.6 to 2.3”, NACA Research
Memorandum L53D14a, Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Langley Field, Virginia, June
1953.
4. Ellison, D. E.: “USAF Stability and Control Handbook (DATCOM),” AF Flight Dynamics
Lab., AFFDL/FDCC, WrightPatterson AFB, Ohio, August 1968.
5. McCormick, Barnes W.: “Aerodynamics, Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics”, pp. 315331,
John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York, 1979.
6. Nicolai, Leland M.: “Fundamentals of Aircraft Design”, 1975.
6 1. Wave Drag is a Pressure Drag resulting from static pressure components located to either side of compression or shock waves that do not completely cancel each other. Base Drag can be a significant contributor to the rocket’s overall drag during poweroff flight (after engine burnout).2) and through Supersonic speeds (above Mach 1. However.8 to Mach 1. Induced Drag is that drag associated with the generation of lift. and hence.2). some of you may wish to develop your own custom software using the equations provided here. 0.1 0 0 0. One of the largest contributors to Zero Lift Drag over Subsonic speeds is Skin Friction Drag. Many public or commercially available rocket performance programs require the user to input a value of average drag coefficient ‘CD ’.6 (1218 mph!).8 Drag Coefficient. Another contributor to Pressure Drag is Wave Drag.4 1.) and its velocity vector. Angle of Attack refers to the angle of incidence between any lifting component (wing. Skin Friction Drag is the drag resulting from viscous shearing stresses acting over the surface of the rocket.8 Accelerated Flight Decelerated Flight Mach Number. Form Drag or Pressure Drag is the drag on a body resulting from the summation of the static pressure acting normal to the rocket’s surfaces.8 1 1.6 0. it would be wise to discuss some terminology. For those of us who are of a nerdy and curious nature. We will limit our discussion to Zero Lift Drag or Parasite Drag. this just doesn’t meet our needs. Cd 0. and is attributed to the blunt aft end of the rocket.4 0. the last drag contributor we will consider is Interference Drag. Specifically. Subsonic refers to flight speeds well below the speed of sound. resolved into the direction opposite of flight. a more precise time history of the rocket’s performance. fin. The rocket then begins to . This is often a guess on the part of the user. Wave Drag makes its debut during Transonic speeds (about Mach 0. In fact. These programs have their equations embedded in the code. body. such as fin to body junctures and launch lug to body junctures. and do not attempt to enlighten the user as to their degree of integrity or sophistication.2 Before we get into the details. Interference Drag results from two bodies in close proximity.2 0.2 0. This occurs at zero Angle of Attack for rockets.7 0. M In the above graph the rocket accelerates from a standstill on the launch pad to a maximum Mach Number of about 1. This is depicted by the dashed curve. we will account for the following drag contributors: • • • • Skin Friction Drag (Viscous Effects) Base Drag (Pressure Drag increment due to blunt body during poweroff flight) Wave Drag (Pressure Drag increment due to compression or shock waves) Interference Drag (Drag increment due to bodies in close proximity) Below is a typical flight history of drag versus Mach number. Finally.5 0. etc. Base Drag is a contributor to Pressure Drag.3 0.6 0. We will not be dealing with Induced Drag.2 1. more sophisticated programs attempt to predict the time history of drag. which is the total rocket drag independent of lift.4 0.
The result is an increase in Friction Drag. Although I have used Area Ruling in some of my transonic rocket designs. Viscosity is a characteristic of a fluid described by the fluid’s ability to resist shear. its overall effect on the rocket’s performance is minimal due to the short time spent in transonic flight. the shape of the fin and aft body region will have a significant effect on drag rise due to Wave Drag. as in the case above. or lack thereof. Mach Number is the ratio of the fluid velocity to the speedofsound in that fluid. wind tunnel testing) for situations where it is difficult to recreate actual flow about full scale bodies. The constant of proportionality is known as the absolute coefficient of viscosity ‘µ’. The existence of thrust. can have a significant effect on the rocket’s drag coefficient for blunt aft bodies.4 ft/s. At very small Reynolds Numbers the momentum of the airflow about the rocket is insufficient to remain attached to its surface and maintain welldefined streamlines. we define the shear stress as: τ =µ du dr . Viscosity of a fluid is often measured by applying a pure torque to the fluid. time spent in efforts such as Area Ruling would yield little return on investment. In mathematical form it is defined by. still under thrust flight.25 (951 mph). For most projects. This drag rise is associated with small Reynolds Numbers. the speed of sound is about 762 mph or 1116. ρ = Density of fluid V∞ = Free stream velocity of the fluid about the vehicle L = Characteristic length of vehicle (rocket diameter) µ = Absolute coefficient of viscosity Reynolds Numbers are commo nly used as scaling factors to approximate similar flow conditions in the laboratory (i. the result would be equal to the applied torque. In air.. A fluid having high viscosity will better resist deformation under shear than a fluid having low viscosity. The Reynolds Number is the ratio of inertia forces to viscous forces as a vehicle penetrates flow. Again. There exists a steep increase in drag coefficient as the Mach Number approaches zero. the solid curve is displaced above the dashed curve. depicting a drag rise due to Base Drag. Both curves exhibit a jump in drag coefficient over the range of about Mach 0. then the fluid is said to be travelling at Mach 1.e. If the fluid velocity about an object is equal to the speedofsound of that fluid. Wave Drag can be somewhat minimized by tailoring the shape of the fin and aft body geometry using a technique called Area Ruling.0 relative to that object. the engine burn is complete and the rocket continues its deceleration under zero thrust flight. Then at a Mach Number of about 1. Shear stress within a fluid is proportional to the gradient of the fluid velocity acting normal to the shear plane. This is the characteristic transonic region where Wave Drag makes its debut and may dominate. at Standard Sea Level conditions. as depicted by the solid curve. This Base Drag is a result of transitioning from thrust flight to coast or zero thrust flight.9 to 1. For the case of the applied torque. At this point. hence the flow separates and becomes turbulent. Re = ρV∞ L µ Where. If one were to integrate the product of shear stresses times the distance to the center of applied torque over the fluid volume. The speedofsound in a fluid is the speed at which a pressure disturbance is propagated through the fluid.2.3 decelerate.
ft ν = Kinematic viscosity.6882. there would be no shear stres s and likewise no friction drag.4 Where. if 37000 ft ≤ h ≤ 64000 ft = 0. 1. ft2 /s = 0.08 . if h ≥ 64000 ft Where. For h ≥ 30000 feet Rn* = Compressible Reynolds Number aML = (1 + 0.0 Friction Drag – A given rocket’s drag will not only be a function of Mach Number.004h + 1116. so does the air viscosity. 1. For h ≤ 15000 feet a = 0.043M 2 + 0.0283M − 0.037036 Rn * −0. speed of sound and air density.00002760 and b = 0.0007 h + 924.000157e ah+ b Where. inches Cf * = Incompressible skin friction coefficient = 0.99 . For 15000 ≤ h ≤ 30000 feet a = 0. M = Mach Number L = total length of rocket.03417. Viscosity. As altitude changes.2107 M 3 − 0. 155079 Cf = Compressible skin friction coefficient . fps = −0. µ = Fluid coefficient of viscosity du = Differential of fluid tangential velocity dr = Differential of radial distance from torque center of application The Friction Drag previously mentioned is directly related to the shear stresses in the fluid. density and speed of sound will play a role in the equations for drag as well as a strong dependence on Mach Number. Without viscosity. a = 0.1 Body Friction Drag – The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the rocket’s body coefficient of drag due to friction.0.03829M 4 + 0. but also altitude. if h ≤ 37000 ft = 968.002709 M 5 ) 12ν Where.00004664 and b = 0. a = Speed of sound.00002503 and b = 0.45 . h = altitude.
if Cf ≥ Cf (term) = Cf (term ). d = maximum body diameter L = total body length SB = total wetted surface area of body d L 1.00002 to 0.5 = Cf * (1 + 0.000549M 5 ) Cf * (term) = Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness 1 = 2. for natural sheet metal = 0.00933M 4 + 0.0632M 3 − 0. 5 L 1. for smooth surface = 0.Body Friction Drag .1. for polished metal or wood = 0.2 Fin Friction Drag – The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the rocket’s total fin coefficient of drag due to friction.0012.2044 M 2 ) Cf ( final) = Final skin friction coefficient = Cf .00008.0025(L / d ) B 3 2 (L / d ) πd Where.89 + 1. for standard camouflage paint Cf (term) = Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness Cf * (term) = (1 + 0. a = Speed of sound. as defined in Section 1.0. for smooth matte paint.1 60 4S = Cf ( final ) 1 + + 0.00016.00025.00798M − 0.62 log 10 K Where.1813M 2 + 0. carefully applied = 0. K = 0.0004 to 0. if Cf ≤ Cf (term) Cd f (body ) = Body coefficient of drag due to friction Equation 1.
002709M 5 ) 12ν Where.000549M 5 ) Cf * (term) = Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness 1 = 2 .0004 to 0.00025.03829M 4 + 0. for smooth surface = 0.5 C r 1.043M 2 + 0.6 ν = Kinematic viscosity.2107 M 3 − 0.89 + 1.1 – Body Friction Drag Rn* = Compressible Reynolds Number aMC r = (1 + 0. for standard camouflage paint Cf (term) = Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness Cf * (term) = (1 + 0. M = Mach Number Cr = Root chord of fin. inches Cf * = Incompressible skin friction coefficient = 0. carefully applied = 0.0283M − 0. for polished metal or wood = 0.00008.037036 Rn * −0.0.00933M 4 + 0. if Cf ≥ Cf (term) = Cf (term ).0012.2044 M 2 ) Cf ( final) = Final skin friction coefficient = Cf . as defined in Section 1.00016. for smooth matte paint.00002 to 0.0632M 3 − 0. if Cf ≤ Cf (term) Rn = Incompressible Reynolds Number aMC r = 12ν λ= Ct = Ratio of fin tip chord to root chord Cr . for natural sheet metal = 0.62 log 10 K Where.1813M 2 + 0. K = 0. 155079 Cf = Compressible skin friction coefficient = Cf * (1 + 0.00798M − 0.
6 2 .6 [log10 (Rn )]2. if λ = 0. t + 0. 6 [log 10 (Rn λ )] [log 10 (Rn )] = Cf ( final ) 2 2 (λ − 1) λ 1 + 0.2 t = Cfλ 1 + 60 C r Where.0 log 10 ( Rn ) λ2 1 − 2.5646 [log ( Rn λ ) ]3.5646 = Cf ( final ) 1 + .6 10 10 Cd f ( fins) = Coefficient of friction drag for all fins Equation 1.6 − [log ( Rn ) ]3.8 1 + 5 X t 2 c C r 4 4 N f S f πd 2 t = Maximum thickness of each fin at root Cr =Fin root chord Xt c Xt = c Cr X t = Distance from fin leading edge to maximum thickness c C t = Fin tip chord Nf = Number of fins Sf = Total wetted area of each fin b ≈ (C r + Ct ) 2 d = Maximum diameter of rocket body Cr t Xt/c Cr b/2 Ct .7 Cf λ = Average flat plate skin friction coefficient for each fin panel 0.
002709M 5 ) 12ν Where.0283M − 0. a = Speed of sound.8 1.1 – Body Friction Drag ν = Kinematic viscosity.1 – Body Friction Drag Rn* = Compressible Reynolds Number aML P = (1 + 0. The contribution of a protuberance to drag is often accounted for by its friction drag. as defined in Section 1.037036 Rn * −0.0012.00016. for natural sheet metal = 0. M = Mach Number LP = Length of protuberance. Protuberances will also generate an incremental drag rise due to the interaction of their pressure distributions and boundary layers with that of the host body.00002 to 0. inches Cf * = Incompressible skin friction coefficient = 0.00933M 4 + 0. K = 0.03829 M 4 + 0. An example of a common protuberance for a rocket would be a launch lug.3 Protuberance Friction Drag – Protuberances are components that are found on the exterior of a vehicle. as defined in Section 1.89 + 1.0. A detailed analysis of interference drag is beyond the scope of this text.1813M 2 + 0. for smooth surface = 0.00798M − 0. This incremental drag rise is known as Interference Drag and is difficult to predict.000549M 5 ) Cf * (term) = Incompressible skin friction coefficient with roughness 1 = 2 . carefully applied = 0. 155079 Cf = Compressible skin friction coefficient = Cf * (1 + 0.2107 M 3 − 0. for polished metal or wood = 0. for smooth matte paint.00025.00008.043M 2 + 0.0004 to 0.2044 M 2 ) .0632M 3 − 0.5 LP 1.62 log 10 K Where. for standard camouflage paint Cf (term) = Compressible skin friction coefficient with roughness Cf * (term) = (1 + 0. The following equations can be solved in sequential order to determine the coefficient of drag due to a protuberance.
These will be accounted for by assuming they are distributed over the wetted surface of the rocket. if Cf ≥ Cf (term) = Cf (term ). gouges.8151Cf ( final ) L p Where.9 Cf ( final) = Final skin friction coefficient = Cf .2288M − 0. For M < 0. rivets.5954 M 3 − 2.3 d a Lp 1. slots. For M > 1. A = Maximum crosssection area of protuberance Spro = Wetted surface area of protuberance d = Maximum rocket diameter Equation 1.1062 M 2 + 1. if Cf ≤ Cf (term) Cf pro = Friction coefficient of protuberance Cf pro a = 0.4 = −0.798 L πd 2 p Where.26717 For 0.00038.04 = 0.0002M 2 − 0.4501M 4 + 1. The coefficient of drag for excrescencies is estimated with the equations below. a = Distance from rocket nose to front edge of protuberance Lp = Length of protuberance −0 .78 ≤ M ≤ 1.78 Equation 1. Sr = Total wetted surface area of rocket d = Maximum diameter of rocket body Ke = Coefficient for excrescencies drag increment K e = 0. and holes. Cd e = Change is drag coefficient due to excrescencies 4S Cd e = K e r πd 2 Where.0012M + 0.3 Drag due to Excrescencies – Excrescencies include features such as scratches.04 .1243 Cd pro = Drag coefficient of protuberance due to friction 3 A 2 4S pro = Cf pro 1 + 1.0018. cover plates. joints.
Recall that viscosity is the culprit that causes skin friction drag.6) = K b Equation 1. The change in mass momentum at the blunt end is less severe with the advent of a fully developed boundary layer. In the formulation given below. The resulting form drag is less severe as well. db d Cd b ( M < 0. an effort has been made to formulate a method that would estimate base drag with reasonable correlation. The boundary layer is developed from the presence of viscosity.6 Cd F Where. The total skin friction drag coefficient with consideration for interference effects is estimated with the following equation. Unfortunately.6.4 Total Friction and Interference Drag Coefficient – The total friction drag coefficient is assumed proportional to the sum of the drag coefficients for the body. including interference effects. the tendency is for a reduction in base drag. Generally.6 – Recall that for coasting flight. Kb = constant of proportionality db = base diameter of rocket at aft end d = rocket maximum diameter CdF = total skinfriction dragcoefficient. and the second for Mach Number greater than 0.10 1. base drag is typically described as inversely proportional to the square root of the total skinfriction dragcoefficient. Mother Nature helps reduce the severity of this change in mass momentum through the generation of a boundary layer. as friction drag increases the trend is a reduction in base drag.6. and particularly in subsonic flow. The following is a general form of the equation for base drag. Cd F = Cd f ( body) + K F Cd f ( fins ) + K F Cd pro + Cd e [ ] Equation 1. An attempt to find an existing method to estimate base drag that correlates well with rocket data was unsuccessful. the boundary layer is not laminar but turbulent and the momentum thickness is well developed. generating a force that acts opposite to the direction of flight. The mass momentum (mass x velocity) changes abruptly. K F = Mutual interference factor of fins and launch lug with body ≈ 1.0 Base Drag Coefficient Base drag can be described as a change in mass momentum. the first for Mach Number less than or equal to 0. fin. protuberances. as friction drag increases. Fortunately. nothing is free when it comes to Mother Nature. Most likely. In lieu of continuing a search. including interference n = exponent n . Base drag is also related to the ratio of body base diameter to maximum body diameter.5 Where. Imagine laminar airflow traveling over a smooth gradually contoured body at velocity when suddenly it encounters a blunt aft end where the velocity drops to zero. Base drag is difficult to predict. In fact. it is assumed that the base drag is inversely proportional to the square root of the total skinfriction dragcoefficient. The method described below is divided into two regimes. and excrescencies. 2.04 2.1 Base Drag Coefficient for M < 0.
reasonable values of Kb and n are: L K b = 0.02 0.2733 When using the above equations defining Kb and n along with the general equation for Cdb (M<0.6).12 0.12 0.6 0.1 0.06 Predicted Cdb Line of Perfect Agreement 0. Cdb for Mach Number ~ 0.0 in Reference 6. where the length is taken aft of the maximum bodydiameter position.08 0.0116 d L n = 3.6542 o d −0 .11 The values for Kb and n are given as 0. As described in Reference 5.02 0 0 0.14 Actual Cdb .0274 tan −1 o + 0. base drag is strongly related to the rocket’s length to body ratio.1 0.14 0. the correlation as depicted by the graph below is reasonable. The above equation using these values does a poor job in predicting base drag for the “rocket type” shapes of References 1 and 5.04 0.06 0. Configuration #1 d db Lo Configuration #2 d db Lo For the above two configurations.08 0.029 and 3.04 0.
64006 . For M > 2.12 2. designation L65931.6. Cd b (M ≥ 0.1 to calculate the base drag coefficient at M = 0.6 – For Mach Numbers greater than 0. the base drag coefficient for higher values of Mach Number is determined by multiplying the value at M = 0. Equations bas ed on curve fits of trend data can be dangerous and lead to erroneous results if used outside the range of . the method did not perform as well for a variety of other configurations of References 1 and 5.1115(M − 2 ) + 1.7938(M − 1) + 1.8(M − 0.0 3 2 f b = 2. Equation 1.6 ) = Cd b (M = 0. For 0.5 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 Mach Number 'M' 3.0 3 2 f b = 0.297 (M − 2 ) − 0. and attempt to predict the drag rise with basic body dimensional data only.6 by the function f b .883917 .6 ) f b Where.0 6.0 The function f b is based on the sounding rocket data of Reference 1. These equations are curve fits of actual trend data taken from a variety of rocket configurations.5 Function fb 2 1.0 < M < 2.6 (M = 0. including the variations of the Hart missile designation L65930 of References 2 and 3. A plot of f b against this sounding rocket data is given below. The method presented here constitutes a series of equations that characterize the drag rise over the transonic region.6. For 1. proved to predict the transonic drag rise reasonably well for the Hart missile.5 1 0. 2.4618(M − 1) + 1. The depth of the DATCOM methods is beyond the scope of this effort.6 ) .6).6 < M < 1.2 Base Drag Coefficient for M > 0. as recorded in my hand written notes. The DATCOM methods.0 Transonic Wave Drag Coefficient – The approach taken was to start with a “clean sheet of paper”.0 + 215. Using the equation of Section 2.0881( M − 1) − 3. of Reference 2. the base drag coefficient is calculated relative to the base drag value at Mach = 0.7937(M − 2) − 0. However.7 f b = 1.
6. Equations developed this way will tend to lack quantities that relate to the actual physics of the problem.0156 N + 0.6817 d d Where.136 N + 0.0275 d b Where. such as fin sweep angle. Drag rise over the transonic region can be predicted for a given Mach Number (M) and basic body dimensions.4.6 will result in a truly bad answer. so extrapolation outside the database used in their development is a bad idea.2 .13 parameters used in their development. the equations presented below should only be used for rockets having a ratio of nose length to effective rocket length less than 0. For N L e < 0. such as DATCOM. may be capable of accounting for the effects of individual component characteristics. using the following equations: Configuration #1 d LN Le Lb d LN Configuration #2 Le = L b M D = Transonic drag divergence Mach Number L L = −0. Specifically. It is guaranteed that the use of these equations for rockets having a ratio greater than 0. Other methods with more substance. Le = Effective length of rocket L a = 2. LN = Length of rocket nose d = Maximum Body Cross Section Diameter 2 M F = Final Mach Number of Transonic Region L = a e + 1.
∆Cd S = Supersonic drag rise for given Mach Number ‘M’ = ∆C DMAX . For LN L e ≥ 0.05.9 . For N < 0.6321x 2 + 1. and the results compare well with actual test data.348.94 N + 264.2 L e L = 19.2 ∆CDMAX = Maximum drag rise over transonic region L L = c e . the supersonic drag rise is assumed to equal the transonic drag rise at Mach Number = MF.7434.1195 x (M − M D ) x= (M F − M D ) 4. If M D ≤ M ≤ M F = 0. L c = 50.14 L L = −321..734 N L b 2 2 g + 15.946 x3 + 8.676 N L b L − 51. If M < M F Equation 1. If M < M D or M > M F Where. Equation 1.642 − 1.3108 N L b ∆Cd T = Transonic drag rise for given Mach Number ‘M’ = ∆CDMAX F .2 + 1. For e < 6 d Where. For e ≥ 6 d d L g = c(6 ) .543x 4 − 24.07 N L L e e L b = −1..369 N L e 2 2 − 36. If M ≥ M F = 0. For LN L e ≥ 0. This greatly simplifies calculations.0 Supersonic Wave Drag Coefficient – For all Mach Numbers greater than MF.3474 x 5 + 24.7344 L g = −2.634 N L e L − 18.2538 N L b L + 1.8 F = −8.
5 to 1. The first example is the rocket configuration L65930 of NACA TN 3549.15 0. The analysis suggested that the rocket surface finish must have been very smooth with very few scratches and/or imperfections.15 5. In all cases. that is.5 1 1.3 0.25 0. it was not clear as to the actual surface finish of the rocket. Due to the level of sophistication of the equations presented here. [ ] Drag Coefficient Prediction for L65930 Prediction With Escrescenes Prediction Without Excrescences Measured Data 0. For accurate predictions more sophisticated methods such as Finite Difference or Finite Element based Computational Fluid Dynamics should be employed. excellent agreement between prediction and measured data was not expected.05 0 0 0. Reference 2. 2 2. C D = Cd f (body ) + K F Cd f ( fins ) + K F Cd pro + Cd e + Cd b + ∆CdT + ∆Cd S Predictions of drag coefficient versus Mach Number were performed for the two freeflight rocket configurations of Reference 2 and the sounding rocket of Reference 1.0 Total Drag Coefficient – The rocket’s total drag coefficient for any given Mach Number is the summation of the individual coefficients given by equations 1. However.1 0. the trends are correct. the surface finish constant ‘K’ was adjusted until the predicted drag coefficients approximated the measured values. it was hoped that prediction of drag magnitude with configuration and variation with Mach Number is reasonable.2 Cd 0.5 .9.5 Mach No. Therefore.
also of NACA TN 3549.8 Mach No.5 0. Here we can see that the drag rise over the transonic region is underpredicted for both burn and coast flight. The example compares predicted versus measured drag coefficient for both the thrust (burn) and zerothrust (coast) phases.6 Measured Data The final example is the 130mm diameter sounding rocket of Reference 1.4 0.6 0. The methods were based on rocket configurations with nose cone length to total Cd .2 1.2 0. Drag Coefficient Prediction for L65931 Predicted 0.4 0. 1 1.2 0. “How to Make Amateur Rockets”. The Mach Number at maximum drag rise is underpredicted as well.6 0. Reference 2.3 0.1 0 0 0.16 The Second example is the rocket configuration L65931.4 1. The geometric configuration of this rocket falls outside the range of data for which the prediction methods were developed.
Predicted Coast .2 1.2 0 0 0.17 rocket length ratios of 0.143.6 0.6 Coast .4 1.8 0.Predicted Burn . Cd for the 130 mm Sounding Rocket Burn .4 0.2 0.4 0.2 Mach No.2 to 0. The 130mm diameter sounding rocket has a ratio of 0.6.Measured 0.8 2 2.Measured Cd 0.6 1.8 1 1. . The predicted jump from the burn curve to coast curve compares well with that of the measured data over the range of Mach Number.
Roger G. 1997. Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics”. Virginia. Roger G. pp. 4. 3.: How to Make Amateur Rockets. Ohio. Waliskog.: “Flight Investigation at Mach Numbers from 0. 1975. NACA Technical Note 3549. D.: “USAF Stability and Control Handbook (DATCOM).: “Aerodynamics. Langley Aeronautical Laboratory. CP Technologies. 2.: “Fundamentals of Aircraft Design”. New York. June 1953. Barnes W.: “Investigation of the Drag of BluntNosed Bodies of Revolution in Free Flight at Mach Numbers form 0. Harvey A. and Hart.18 REFERENCES 1. Nicolai.8 to 1. Ellison. AFFDL/FDCC. E.5 to Determine the Effects of Nose Bluntness on the Total Drag of Two Fin Stabilized Bodies of Revolution”. 1979. 5. August 1968.. . Langley Field. Leland M. Wickman.. Virginia. 315331. McCormick.6 to 2. Hart. Langley Aeronautical Laboratory.” AF Flight Dynamics Lab. John H.3”. Langley Field. NACA Research Memorandum L53D14a. WrightPatterson AFB. June 1953. John Wiley and Sons Inc. 6.
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