Solutions to dimensional analysis

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Solutions to dimensional analysis

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Problem 7.03

This problem is from Advanced Fluid Mechanics Problems by A.H. Shapiro and A.A. Sonin

A metal ball falls at steady speed in a large tank containing a viscous liquid. The ball falls so slowly that

it is known that the inertia forces may be ignored in the equation of motion compared with the viscous forces.

(a) Perform a dimensional analysis of this problem, with the aim of relating the speed of fall V , to the

diameter of the ball D, the mass density of the ball b , the mass density of the liquid l , and any other

variables which play a role. Note that the eective weight of the ball is proportional to (b l )g.

(b) Suppose that an iron ball (sp. gr.=7.9, D=0.3 cm) falls through a certain viscous liquid (sp. gr. =

1.5) at a certain steady-state speed. What would be the diameter of an aluminum ball (sp. gr. = 2.7)

which would fall through the same liquid at the same speed assuming inertial forces are negligible in

both ows?

c 2010, MIT

Dimensional Analysis A.H. Shapiro and A.A. Sonin 7.03

Solution:

In steady state, the body force (weight, W ) must be balanced with buoyancy (FB ) and drag (FD )

forces.

3

4 D

Wef f = (b l )g = FD (7.03a)

3 2

l V D FD

3 1 1 1

[ML ] [ML T ] [LT ] 1

[L ] [ML1 T2 ]

Thus we have

n = 5 variables

k = 3 primary variables

j = 2 dimensionless group

For our primary variables, we choose (1) a uid property: l , (2) a ow parameter: V , and (3) a

geometric parameter: D. Therefore, the rst dimensionless group is

= f1 (l , V, D) or 1 = K1 al V b Dc

M :0=1+a

L : 0 = 1 3a + b + c

T : 0 = 1 b

a = b = c = 1

K1

1 = K1 = (7.03b)

l V D Re

Similarly, we can obtain the second non-dimensional parameter.

2 = K2 FD al V b Dc

FD

2 = K2 (7.03c)

l V 2 D 2

When K2 = 2, this becomes the drag coecient CD , i.e.,

FD

CD = 1 2

2 V A

c 2010, MIT

Dimensional Analysis A.H. Shapiro and A.A. Sonin 7.03

In part (a), we obtained two non-dimensional variables. In highly viscous ows or fast speed ows,

the drag force is a function of the Reynolds number. However, if the speed of the ball is very small

(Re << 1), then the drag force is no longer a function of Reynolds number.

When the non-dimensional parameters are consistent in two situations, the ow elds are also similar.

Lets make the drag coecients are the same in the two cases.

4 Di 3 4 Da 3

(i l )g 3 2 (a l )g 3 2

CD = 2 D2

=

V i V 2 Da2

2

=

(0.3) Da2

Da = 1.6 cm (7.03d)

c 2010, MIT

MIT OpenCourseWare

http://ocw.mit.edu

Fall 2013

For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms.

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