# Physics Of Flight

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Physics Of Flight
Flight is a phenomenon that has long been a part of the natural world. Birds fly not only by flapping their wings, but by gliding with their wings outstretched for long distances. Smoke, which is composed of tiny particles, can rise thousands of feet into the air. Both these types of flight are possible because of the principles of physical science. Likewise, man-made aircraft rely on these principles to overcome the force of gravity and achieve flight.

Lighter-than-air craft, such as the hot air balloon, work on a buoyancy principle. They float on air much like rafts float on water. The density of a raft is less than that of water, so it floats. Although the density of water is constant, the density of air decreases with altitude. The density
This force is called lift. In heavier-than-air craft, lift is created by the flow of air over an airfoil. The shape of an airfoil causes air to flow faster on top than on bottom. The fast flowing air decreases the surrounding air pressure. Because the air pressure is greater below the airfoil than above, a resulting lift force is created. To further understand how an airfoil creates lift, it is necessary to use two important equations of physical …show more content…
This resistance is called drag. Drag is the result of a number of physical phenonmena. Pressure drag is that which you feel when running on a windy day. The pressure of the wind in front of you is greater than the pressure of the wake behind you. Skin friction, or viscous drag, is that which swimmers may experience. The flow of water along a swimmer's body creates a frictional force that slows the swimmer down. A rough surface will induce more frictional drag than a smooth surface. To reduce viscous drag, swimmers attempt to make contact surfaces as smooth as possible by wearing swim caps and shaving their legs. Likewise, an aircraft's wing is designed to be smooth to reduce drag.

Like lift, drag is proportional to dynamic pressure and the area on which it acts. The drag coefficient, analgous to the lift coefficent, is a measure of the amount of dynamic pressure gets converted into drag. Unlike the lift coefficient however, engineers usually design the drag coefficient to be as low as possible. Low drag coefficients are desirable because an aircraft's efficiency increases as drag

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