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Lead-flapping objects experience less wind resistance than their trailing counterparts
Date:11/10/2008

hang and his co-author Leif Ristroph, a doctoral candidate in Cornell's Department of Physics, first calculated the resistance faced by a single flag. They subsequently determined the resistance faced by two flags in tandem.

They found that the leading flag always suffered less drag, or resistance, than did the trailing flag. In addition, they also reported that the leading flag in a tandem of flags experienced less drag than a flag in isolation. Both results are contrary to existing research on fluid force.

The trailing flag acts as a splitting plate that restricts the lateral motion of the oncoming flow, the researchers said in explaining their results. This effect indirectly reduces the motion of the leading flag, which makes the appearance of the leader smaller than usual, yielding less drag. By contrast, the trailing flapping body, which flaps in the oscillating wake of the first, has greater flapping amplitude due to the resonate effect of this wake. This larger appearance in a flow translates to a greater drag.


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Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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