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Discussion in 'CoB Off-topic' started by StephenSLR, Aug 2, 2010.
Back in Sydney, on my way to a Steel Panther show.
Nowy Sącz , Poland
Just back home from school.
Back home from NYC. Cool place bro.
Home - Sydney
I'm back in Sydney after a couple of days in Adelaide, this is the plane I flew in on. Up close I felt the artwork and it's made up of adhesive sections, I thought it'd be painted on to give the surface less air resistance.
It doesn't really work that way, for two reasons.
1. If the stickers are thin enough, it doesn't really make a difference. They're thinner than the rivets that keep the metal plates together.
2. Even if they did, small irregularities in something's surface sometimes reduces air friction due to the formation of air pockets that act as a lubricant. Think a golf ball.
Point 1 being way more important than 2. Because if point 2 doesn't happen (it probably doesn't), by using paint they'd be saving a negligible amount of fuel, but increasing maintenance costs considerably.
These days the rivets are flat and/or countersunk but yeah they probably don't all align flush with the surface and there's probably other irregularities.
It looks like I need to brush up on my fluid mechanics to keep up with this forum.
Golf ball is a little different as the irregularities are sunken rather than protruding? Otherwise you'd see spikey golf balls as well.
Yeah I guess they're not trying to win the America's Cup.
The short answer is that we don't really know... the equations of fluid mechanics aren't analytically solvable -- or rather, no one knows how to solve them analytically, to the point that if anybody figures it out they get a million bucks from the Clay Mathematics Institute. So by and large, when we want to figure out the aerodynamic properties of something, we can 1. do computational fluid dynamics on really fast supercomputers or 2. build a model and test it in a wind chamber. As you might imagine, simulating on a computer isn't quite as accurate as the wind chamber, which is in turn a lot more time consuming, so a combination of both techniques is often used. And I don't think anybody ever tested stickers with either system.
That being said, I suspect that you're right and that things live rivets or stickers would increase air resistance, but there is the distinct possibility of the opposite actually happening. We just suck at solving complicated nonlinear physics, and all physics is nonlinear
Auckland, New Zealand.
Ahipara, New Zealand.
Des Plaines, Illinois. Home base.
Whangarei, New Zealand, after spending a couple of nights in Paihia, NZ.
Kissimmee, Florida. Pretty much all the time. Yep.
Hello Los Angeles.