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Drag on a

Sphere
Introduction:
The objective of this lab is to determine whether there is a relationship
between the drag coefficient and the Reynolds number of a fluid. We will be doing
this by testing similarly shaped objects (spheres) as they pass through three
different fluids. In order to do this we must assume that the fluids are
incompressible. We must also assume that the objects dropped into the fluids will
have reached their terminal velocity during the data collection period. A relationship
between the drag coefficient and Reynolds number is expected and should be able
to be predicted by the empirical model. We will also look at any error that may be
associated with this experiment and may lead to inconsistencies within the results.

Background & Theory

Since we assume that the spheres are dropping at constant velocities the
force balance equation shows only three forces acting.

Fb+Fd=Fg

The Buoyancy and Gravitational forces are known:

Fg=ρp16πD3g

Fb=ρl16πD3g

Combining the first three equations we can now solve for the Force of Drag:

Fd=ρp-ρl16πD3g
Now that we can determine the drag force we can continue on to calculate
the dimensionless Drag Coefficient and the Reynolds number:

Cd=8FdρlV2πD2

Re=ρluDμ

Procedure:
Several standard lab devices were required to obtain the experimental data.
For each of the three fluids the viscosity and density needed to be known. The
density was measured using a hydrometer. The viscosity was interpolated from data
tables, knowing the temperature of the room. We also needed to know the
properties of the spheres being dropped. The mass and diameter of the spheres
were determined before the experiment was done. This was to ensure that the
spheres being dropped would be able to overcome the buoyancy forces of the fluid
and drop to the bottom.

Five spheres were selected for each of the fluids and dropped five times.
Choosing five varied spheres gave us a wide range over which our calculations for
Reynolds number and coefficient of drag could be determined and compared. Using
a stopwatch we able to measure the time required for the sphere to drop over a
known distance, giving us the spheres velocity. The measurement had to be taken
far enough down the pipe to ensure that the sphere had reached its terminal
velocity.

Results:
The densities and viscosity of each fluid were determined before the
experiment and are seen tabulated below.
Temperatur Density Viscosity
Fluid e (⁰C) (kg/m^3) (kg/ms)
Water 25 960 0.0008998
Glycol 25 1110 0.01775
Glyceri
ne 25 1261 1.011

Table 1: Fluid Properties

In order to determine the viscosity of Glycerine we needed to determine the
actual percentage of Glycerine in the fluid. Because Glycerine absorbs water, being
open to the air may cause the fluid’s composition to change if there is enough water
in the air. Consulting a data table our density was compared to known values
allowing us to determine the fluid composition, which was 100%. From there just as
with the other two fluids the viscosity was interpolated from a data table knowing
the room temperature.

With these values we can now calculate the Reynolds number and drag
coefficient as shown in the calculations section. Graphing these values will allow us
to determine whether or not there is a correlation.

Plot 1: Drag coefficient vs. Reynolds number with empirical model (all
results are unit less)

Discussion:
The results from Plot 1 show that the data collected closely resembles what
was predicted by the empirical model. This suggests a successful attempt at
proving a universal relationship between the Reynolds number and Drag coefficient.
There are two points, however, that do not agree with the empirical model. The two
data points for Glycol in the Reynolds number region of 7-9 are significantly
distanced from the empirical model line. In order to determine the significance of
these data points we must do an uncertainty analysis.

Uncertainty analyses are an important aspect of lab research. They play a

vital role in assigning credibility to any data collected experimentally. Calculating
the uncertainty of the data collected will provide us with a way to determine the
accuracy of our results. The following equations will be used.

Uncertainty Analysis Equation

Pt=tv,aσN

N=5

v = N - 1 = 5 -1 = 4
a = 95%

σ=0.15

tv,a=2.77

Pt=tv,aσN=2.77(0.15)5=0.186= δt

Uncertainty Analysis for Drag Coefficient

∂∂tCd=∂∂t8FdρlV2πD2

∂∂tCd=∂∂t8FdρlLt2πD2

∂∂tCd=∂∂t8t2FdρlL2πD2

∂∂tCd=16tFdρlL2πD2

δCd=∂∂tCd2δt2

δCdCd

Uncertainty Analysis for Reynolds Number

∂∂tRe=∂∂tρlVDμ

∂∂tRe=∂∂tρlLtDμ

∂∂tRe=∂∂tρlLDμt

∂∂tRe=-ρlLDμt2

δRe=∂∂tRe2δt2

δReRe
The results of the uncertainty analysis were:

Table 2: Absolute and Relative Uncertainties for Water

∂/∂t
Cd δCd δCd ∂/∂t Re δRe δRe
Cd Re
0.590 0.109 0.243 - 719.7 0.121
01 74 14 3.87E+03 7 569
0.628 0.116 0.228 - 634.1 0.114
58 92 22 3.41E+03 6 11
0.640 0.119 0.224 - 611.4 0.112
15 07 10 3.29E+03 5 048
0.590 0.109 0.243 - 719.7 0.121
01 74 14 3.87E+03 7 569
0.613 0.114 0.233 - 666.4 0.116
15 05 96 3.58E+03 7 981
0.289 0.053 0.072 - 0.036
32 81 51 2.85E+02 53.02 257
0.294 0.054 0.071 - 0.035
40 76 26 2.75E+02 51.21 632
0.292 0.054 0.071 - 0.035
14 34 81 2.80E+02 52.00 907
0.294 0.054 0.071 - 0.035
40 76 26 2.75E+02 51.21 632
0.294 0.054 0.071 - 0.035
40 76 26 2.75E+02 51.21 632
0.287 0.053 0.077 - 0.038
27 43 34 3.90E+02 72.52 669
0.281 0.052 0.078 - 0.039
90 43 81 4.05E+02 75.31 407
0.291 0.054 0.076 - 0.038
45 21 23 3.79E+02 70.46 115
0.285 0.053 0.077 - 0.038
48 10 82 3.95E+02 73.43 912
0.284 0.052 0.077 - 0.038
88 99 99 3.96E+02 73.74 994
1.174 0.218 0.590 - 3515. 0.295
66 49 48 1.89E+04 40 238
1.118 0.208 0.620 - 3875.
72 08 00 2.08E+04 72 0.31
1.100 0.204 0.630 - 4008. 0.315
07 61 51 2.15E+04 22 254
1.230 0.228 0.563 - 3203. 0.281
59 89 64 1.72E+04 08 818
1.156 0.215 0.600 - 3629.
01 02 00 1.95E+04 71 0.3
0.692 0.128 0.258 - 672.8 0.129
16 74 33 3.62E+03 7 167
0.692 0.128 0.258 - 672.8 0.129
16 74 33 3.62E+03 7 167
0.615 0.114 0.290 - 851.6 0.145
25 44 63 4.58E+03 0 313
0.692 0.128 0.258 - 672.8 0.129
16 74 33 3.62E+03 7 167
0.634 0.118 0.281 - 800.7 0.140
48 01 82 4.31E+03 7 909
Table 3: Absolute and Relative Uncertainties for Glycol
∂/∂t
Cd δCd δCd ∂/∂t Re δRe δRe
Cd Re
0.740 0.137 0.21 27.2 0.106
56 74 379 -146.68 8 897
0.825 0.153 0.19 21.9 0.095
68 58 175 -118.00 5 876
0.795 0.148 0.19 23.6 0.099
89 03 893 -127.00 2 465
0.812 0.151 0.19 22.6 0.097
91 20 476 -121.73 4 382
0.812 0.151 0.19 22.6 0.097
91 20 476 -121.73 4 382
0.917 0.170 0.00 0.004
38 63 880 -0.21 0.04 402
0.910 0.169 0.00 0.004
00 26 888 -0.21 0.04 438
0.916 0.170 0.00 0.004
08 39 882 -0.21 0.04 409
0.916 0.170 0.00 0.004
52 47 881 -0.21 0.04 407
0.918 0.170 0.00 0.004
90 92 879 -0.21 0.04 395
0.837 0.155 0.00 0.003
22 72 708 -0.16 0.03 538
0.786 0.146 0.00 0.003
90 36 753 -0.18 0.03 764
0.816 0.151 0.00 0.003
04 78 726 -0.17 0.03 63
0.797 0.148 0.00 0.003
73 38 743 -0.18 0.03 713
0.801 0.149 0.00 0.003
23 03 739 -0.17 0.03 697
1.515 0.281 0.56 157. 0.281
37 86 364 -844.23 03 818
1.423 0.264 0.60 177.
53 78 000 -956.68 94 0.3
1.653 0.307 0.51 131. 0.258
13 48 667 -709.39 95 333
1.515 0.281 0.56 157. 0.281
37 86 364 -844.23 03 818
1.653 0.307 0.51 131. 0.258
13 48 667 -709.39 95 333
0.905 0.168 0.22 25.7 0.114
24 38 822 -138.41 4 11
0.921 0.171 0.22 -133.45 24.8 0.112
90 47 410 2 048
0.971 0.180 0.21 22.3 0.106
89 77 257 -120.08 4 286
0.921 0.171 0.22 24.8 0.112
90 47 410 -133.45 2 048
0.899 0.167 0.22 26.0 0.114
69 34 963 -140.13 6 815
Table 4: Absolute and Relative Uncertainties for Glycerine
∂/∂t
Cd δCd δCd ∂/∂t Re δRe δRe
Cd Re
4.188 0.779 0.14 0.312 0.074
25 01 880 -1.680570 586 4
4.188 0.779 0.14 0.312 0.074
25 01 880 -1.680570 586 4
4.238 0.788 0.14 0.305 0.073
51 36 704 -1.640951 217 518
4.188 0.779 0.14 0.312 0.074
25 01 880 -1.680570 586 4
4.137 0.769 0.15 0.320 0.075
99 67 061 -1.721641 225 304
4.687 0.871 0.11 0.143 0.055
77 93 039 -0.771043 414 193
4.562 0.848 0.11 0.151 0.056
58 64 341 -0.813936 392 707
4.479 0.833 0.11 0.157 0.057
12 12 553 -0.844552 087 764
4.520 0.840 0.11 0.154 0.057
85 88 446 -0.829032 200 231
4.562 0.848 0.11 0.151 0.056
58 64 341 -0.813936 392 707
5.250 0.976 0.07 0.055 0.038
93 67 670 -0.298002 428 351
5.175 0.962 0.07 0.057 0.038
14 58 782 -0.306794 064 912
5.240 0.974 0.07 0.055 0.038
10 66 686 -0.299234 658 43
5.250 0.976 0.07 0.055 0.038
93 67 670 -0.298002 428 351
5.250 0.976 0.07 0.055 0.038
93 67 670 -0.298002 428 351
3.675 0.683 0.03 0.021 0.019
40 62 928 -0.117245 808 641
3.749 0.697 0.03 0.020 0.019
14 34 851 -0.112678 958 255
3.756 0.698 0.03 0.020 0.019
90 78 843 -0.112213 872 215
3.702 0.688 0.03 0.021 0.019
57 68 899 -0.115531 489 497
3.760 0.699 0.03 0.020 0.019
78 51 839 -0.111981 829 195
28.97 5.390 0.01 0.003 0.009
962 21 923 -0.018711 480 617
28.93 5.381 0.01 -0.018769 0.003 0.009
467 85 926 491 632
29.63 5.512 0.01 0.003 0.009
893 84 881 -0.017888 327 403
28.90 5.376 0.01 0.003 0.009
470 27 928 -0.018808 498 642
29.08 5.409 0.01 0.003 0.009
451 72 917 -0.018577 455 583

Skimming through the uncertainty values we can see that they are relatively
low. This is what was expected for most of the data collected because most of the
data was very close to the expected results represented by the empirical model.
The data point with the highest uncertainty occurred during the tests of spheres
through water. This makes sense as most of these tests fell within the turbulent flow
region where more error is likely to occur. Also with such a short time during which
the sphere is dropping the precision error associated with the starting and stopping
of the watch plays a greater role in the uncertainty. Glycerine on the other hand
shows very low values for the uncertainty. Again this is expected because slower
flows make data collection more certain. For water the coefficient of drag
uncertainty is higher (ranging from 0.07 to 0.63) than the Reynolds number
uncertainties (which range from 0.03 to 0.29). The coefficients of drag uncertainties
are consistently lower than the Reynolds number uncertainties for the other fluids
as well.

The one inconsistency in the data is not explained by the uncertainty

analysis. The glycol data in the 7-9 Reynolds number range have a very low
uncertainty, no greater than 0.08, however these data points differ the most from
the empirical model. The only explanation for this is that mistakes were made
during the experiment. To begin the sphere selected may not have been an
appropriate choice. This sphere lead to data that was very different from the rest of
the spheres. While a wide sample range was wanted, this sphere seemed to outside
the range for accurate data collection. Though it cannot be proven, human error
may have also been a problem and the data may have been incorrectly recorded.

Design Component:
Determine how many samples N would be required to suppress the relative
uncertainty for the worst data point to be below 2%
I found that the data point with the worst relative uncertainty to be the drag
coefficient of the large stainless steel sphere dropped in water. The value was
calculated to be 0.63051.

δCd=∂∂tCd2Pt2

δCdCd=0.63051

Cd=0.32452

∂∂tCd=1.10007

δCdCd=0.02 Set Relative Uncertainty to 2%

δCdCd=1.100072Pt20.32452

0.02=1.100072Pt20.32452

Pt=.02(.32452)21.100072=0.0059

Pt=tv,aσN

N=tv,aσPt2

N=1.960.150.00592

N = 2483 Samples

Conclusions:
This experiment involved collecting the necessary data to characterize the
flow of Newtonian fluids. The data was used to determine two unit less dimensions,
the drag coefficient and the Reynolds number. By determining these values we
were then able to compare them to access whether or not a universal relationship
exists between them. Also we calculated the uncertainty of the data collected to
determine the accuracy and validity of the results.

We were able to achieve our objective and prove a relationship between the
drag coefficient and Reynolds number. We see this in the fact that most of the data
points fall very near to the theoretical model. As stated before though there were
some data points that did not agree with the model. There were certainly some
errors made during the data collection and the analysis. Human error plays a factor
in the data collection, and mistakes could have been made while using the
stopwatch. Also during the analysis some forces were neglected. The free body
diagram shows only forces acting vertically. There were however, horizontal forces
in existence as evident by the lateral movement of the spheres. These lateral
movements could have been caused by trapped air within the fluid or by uneven
boundary layer forces. The lateral movements may have slowed the spheres
causing the analysis to overestimate the coefficient of drag. This would explain why
the extraneous results are above the empirical model line.

Unfortunately none different fluids had spheres which had overlapping

Reynolds number. The benefit of this would have been that had they had the same
Reynolds number and drag coefficient values it would have proven that there is a
universal relationship between the two for similarly shaped objects. There were
though some values that came close. The tests for glycol and water did produce
results that had Reynolds numbers in the same range. These results did have
correspondingly similar drag coefficient values. This may be enough to suggest a
universal relationship, though it does not prove it.

References:
1. Forliti, David. Review of Uncertainty Analysis. University at Buffalo. Print.

2. MAE 338. Drag on a Sphere Lab. University at Buffalo. Print.

Appenix
1. Sphere Characteristics
Spher Diame
e ter mass
1 9.5 3.602
2 7.92 2.08
3 6.34 1.042
4 9.51 1.2661
5 6.33 1.3739
6 9.54 0.9706
7 7.9 0.3014
8 9.5 0.513
9 7.9 2.0189
10 7.9 0.7044
2. Sample of Excel Spreadsheet for Water Calculations
Ti Dista Veloc Diame Volum
me nce ity ter e Mass
(s) (m) (m/s) (m) (m^3) (kg)
1.5 0.581 0.0095 4.55E- 0.0009
6 3 0.89 7 4 07 71
1.6 0.546 0.0095 4.55E- 0.0009
6 3 0.89 0 4 07 71
1.6 0.536 0.0095 4.55E- 0.0009
6 6 0.89 1 4 07 71
1.5 0.581 0.0095 4.55E- 0.0009
6 3 0.89 7 4 07 71
1.5 0.559 0.0095 4.55E- 0.0009
6 9 0.89 7 4 07 71
5.1 0.173 2.58E- 0.0003
7 3 0.89 5 0.0079 07 01
5.2 0.170 2.58E- 0.0003
7 2 0.89 5 0.0079 07 01
5.1 0.171 2.58E- 0.0003
7 8 0.89 8 0.0079 07 01

2. Sample of Excel Spreadsheet for Water Calculations

Continued
Sphere Fluid Drag Coeffici Fluid Reyno
Density Density Force ent Viscosity lds
(kg/m^ (Ns/m^2 Numb
(kg/m^3) 3) (N) of Drag ) er
0.005 0.4513 0.000899 5920.
2134.99 960 24 601 8 69
0.005 0.5122 0.000899 5557.
2134.99 960 24 9 8 46
0.005 0.5313 0.000899 5457.
2134.99 960 24 2 8 02
0.005 0.4513 0.000899 5920.
2134.99 960 24 6 8 69
0.005 0.4874 0.000899 5697.
2134.99 960 24 6 8 27
0.000 0.7421 0.000899 1462.
1167.52 960 53 2 8 26
0.000 0.7683 0.000899 1437.
1167.52 960 53 9 8 05
0.000 0.7566 0.000899 1448.
1167.52 960 53 5 8 15