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Laminar flow and swimsuit

 
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Fairytales



Joined: 29 May 2010
Posts: 1
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 3:30 am    Post subject: Laminar flow and swimsuit Reply with quote

Hi

Iím student at a french university, I have to present a project about swimsuit and I must carry out experiments. Iíve decided to work on the buoyancy of swimsuits, the flow around it and drag. To measure drag, I think Iíll drop a heavy ball wrapped in swimsuit material in the water and take measures. Then Iíll do the same with just the ball and compare the results.

But I have a problem concerning the flow. Iíve read from a swimsuit manufacturer website that swimsuits help create laminar flow. And thatís what I donít understand: Why ? And how can I prove it in an experiment ? I know itís all about fluid mechanics but I havenít studied that yet.

Thank you so much for your help! ^^
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hepcj
Site Admin


Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I have read, there are two ways to create a laminar flow in swimsuits. The first is to try and make the material as smooth as possible. The second is with a type of synthetic shark skin material. This material has a many fin-like protuberances which are aligned to allow the water to flow very easily in the direction that swimmer is moving and reduces the onset of turbulent flow which would causes drag.
As for testing, a would suggest that you try normal swimsuit material and the reduced drag material rather than none at all. Given that the frictional drag makes up only 10% of the drag for swimmers and that these suits shave fractions of a second off the time over the distance of the length of a swimming pool. I think that you would find it difficult to notice the difference between swimsuit materials in a drop test.
Perhaps the simplest way would be to actually find a swimmer friend to try two suits and average over a number of runs.
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