Is a teardrop the most aerodynamic shape?

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Is a teardrop the most aerodynamic shape?

Postby Titus Earl » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:14 pm

My project is about aerodynamics and i need more sources that support my hypothesis. My hypothesis is that out of all the different shapes i will be testing that the teardrop will be the most aerodyna. Can you help me?
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Re: Is a teardrop the most aerodynamic shape?

Postby wendellwiggins » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:03 pm

Hello Titus Earl,

First of all, I want to comment on your statement, "i need more sources that support my hypothesis." A scientist has to always be open to finding the corect answer to a problem no matter what his opinions are at the beginning of the work. If you want to know what actually happens in nature, think what you should say is, "I need more sources that show what shape is the most aerodynamic and why."

A simple web search will find many claims that a teardrop shape is the most aerodynamic (lowest drag), but I found little discussion of why. A place to start is http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/shaped.html. Note that near the bottom of the page is a link to an applet that allows you to compute drag for several shapes.

Good luck, WW
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Re: Is a teardrop the most aerodynamic shape?

Postby billeykamp » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:02 pm

The previous post is a good one, and it should answer your question. I want to be sure you don't take the next step and get the impression that raindrops are teardrop shaped. Every artistic depiction I've seen shows tear drop shaped rain drops, but "it ain't so." Raindrops are complicated, and lots of studies with high speed cameras have led to lots of calculations trying to figure out how they get the odd shapes we observe.

I do appreciate that this is not the question you asked, but if you want to see what real raindrops look like, try http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/raindropshape.html

Incidentally, because they do not have the most aerodynamic shape, raindrops fall slower than they would if they really looked like artists imagine.

I hope this is helpful.

Bill
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