A method is introduced to measure the aerodynamic drag of moving objects such as ground vehicles or athletes in speed sports. Experiments are conducted as proof-of-concept that yield the aerodynamic drag of a sphere towed through a square duct in stagnant air. The drag force is evaluated using large-scale tomographic PIV and invoking the time-average momentum equation within a control volume in a frame of reference moving with the object. The sphere with 0.1 m diameter moves at a velocity of 1.45 m/s, corresponding to a Reynolds number of 10,000. The measurements in the wake of the sphere are conducted at a rate of 500 Hz within a thin volume of approximately 3 × 40 × 40 cubic centimeters. Neutrally buoyant helium-filled soap bubbles are used as flow tracers. The terms composing the drag are related to the flow momentum, the pressure and the velocity fluctuations and they are separately evaluated. The momentum and pressure terms dominate the momentum budget in the near wake up to 1.3 diameters downstream of the model. The pressure term decays rapidly and vanishes within 5 diameters. The term due to velocity fluctuations contributes up to 10% to the drag. The measurements yield a relatively constant value of the drag coefficient starting from 2 diameters downstream of the sphere. At 7 diameters the measurement interval terminates due to the finite length of the duct. Error sources that need to be accounted for are the sphere support wake and blockage effects. The above findings can provide practical criteria for the drag evaluation of generic bluff objects with this measurement technique.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 7, 2017
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