Drag coefficient

From Academic Kids

The drag coefficient (Cd or Cx) is a number that describes a characteristic amount of aerodynamic drag caused by fluid flow, used in the drag equation. Two objects of the same frontal area moving at the same speed through a fluid will experience a drag force proportional to their Cd numbers. Coefficients for rough unstreamlined objects can be 1 or more, for smooth object much less.

Contents

Cd in automobiles.

The drag coefficient is a common metric in automobile design, where designers strive to achieve a low coefficient. Minimizing drag is done to improve fuel efficiency at highway speeds, where aerodynamic effects represent a substantial fraction of the energy needed to keep the car moving. Indeed, aerodynamic drag increases with the square of speed. Aerodynamics are also of increasing concern to truck designers, where a lower drag coefficient translates directly into lower fuel costs.

About 60% of the power required to cruise at highway speeds is taken up overcoming air drag, and this increases very quickly at high speed. Therefore, a vehicle with substantially better aerodynamics will be much more fuel efficient.

CdA

While designers pay attention to the overall shape of the automobile, they also bear in mind that reducing the frontal area of the shape helps reduce the drag. The combination of drag coefficient and area is CdA (or CxA), a multiplication of the Cd value by the area, measured in m2.

Drag in sports and racing cars

Reducing drag is also a factor in sports car design, where fuel efficiency is less of a factor, but where low drag helps a car achieve a high top speed. However, there are other important aspects of aerodynamics that affect cars designed for high speed, including racing cars. Notably, it is important to minimize lift, hence increasing downforce, to avoid the car ever becoming airborne. Also it is important to maximize aerodynamic stability: some racing cars have tested well at particular "attack angles", yet performed catastrophically, i.e. flipping over, when hitting a bump or experiencing turbulence from other vehicles (most notably the Mercedes-Benz CLR). For best cornering and racing performance, as required in Formula 1 cars, downforce and stability are crucial and these cars have very high Cd values.

Typical values and examples

The typical modern automobile achieves a drag coefficient of between 0.30 and 0.35. SUVs, with their larger, flatter shapes, typically achieve a Cd of 0.35-0.45. Certain cars, notably can achieve figures of 0.25-0.30, although sometimes designers deliberately increase drag, in favour of reducing lift.

Some notable examples:

Figures given are generally for the basic model. Faster and more luxurious models often have higher drag, thanks to wider tires and extra spoilers.

Data for more cars:

See also

External link

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools