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An Undergraduate Research Project: Experimental Investigation Of Drag Reduction For A Cylinder With An Attached Fin

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.199.1 - 7.199.9



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Said Shakerin

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Session 2793

An Undergraduate Research Project: Experimental Investigation of Drag Reduction for a Cylinder with an Attached Fin

William Cook and Said Shakerin1 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories / University of the Pacific Livermore, CA / Stockton, CA /

Key words: drag reduction, wind tunnel, load cell, fin, undergraduate research


An example of an undergraduate research project carried out in the area of fluid mechanics is reported in this paper. This project can also be used as a laboratory demonstration, and can easily be reproduced in departments elsewhere. Specifically, an experimental investigation was conducted to determine how drag is affected when a longitudinal fin is attached to the trailing edge of a cylinder. Models were mounted normal to the flow direction in an open loop wind tunnel. A strain gage-based load cell was designed, fabricated and calibrated to measure the drag, and it was mounted outside the test section just beneath the wind tunnel floor. The experimental 3 variables included the air speed and fin length, creating a range of Reynolds number from 22 x 10 5 to 10 and fin length to cylinder radius ratio of 0.25 to 2. Tests with cylinder without fin were also performed to obtain base-line data for comparison. Results indicate that the addition of fin causes a reduction in drag compared to a cylinder without a fin. Future research direction is outlined.

1. Introduction

Undergraduate engineering students at the University of the Pacific are encouraged to participate in research as a part of their academic requirements, and receive up to 4 credit hours for it. The experimental work reported here was carried out as an undergraduate research project while the first author was pursuing his B.S. degree in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Undergraduate research activity has recently received attention among engineering educators. Reference 1 provides a short article on the benefits of involving undergraduate students in research projects. These benefits include, but are not limited, to an opportunity for students to learn about project planning and management, and to improve their writing skill in terms of producing a technical paper worthy of publication. Such experience is a definite plus that can be proudly added to their resumes.

1 Corresponding author

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Educatio n Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education” Main Menu

Shakerin, S. (2002, June), An Undergraduate Research Project: Experimental Investigation Of Drag Reduction For A Cylinder With An Attached Fin Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10892

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