aerodynamics, study of gases in motion. As the principal application of aerodynamics is the design of aircraft, air is the gas with which the science is most concerned. Although aerodynamics is primarily concerned with flight, its principles are also used in designing automobile and train bodies for minimum drag and in computing wind stresses on bridges, buildings, smokestacks, trees, and other structures. It is also used in charting flows of pollutants in the atmosphere and in determining frictional effects in gas ducts. The wind tunnel is one of the aerodynamicist's basic experimental tools; however in recent years, it has been supplanted by the simulation of aerodynamic forces during the computer-aided design of aircraft and automobiles.
Sections in this article:
- Creation of Shock Waves
- Effect of Hypersonic Speeds
- The Basic Forces of Thrust, Drag, and Lift
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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