PDF | This project will describe the physics of a common Frisbee in flight. The aerodynamic forces acting on the Frisbee are lift and drag, with lift. Issue 1 | Article The Aerodynamics of Frisbee Flight. Kathleen Baumback. University of South Florida. Advisors: Masahiko Saito, Mathematics and Statistics. Use aerodynamic principles to predict the flight direction and distance for a Frisbee.

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The angle at which the Frisbee is thrown, which we’ll call the “launch angle” aka the angle of attackaffects both lift and drag. The explanations that you gave for the variables in your equations were easy to follow and helped me understand your physics principles.

Yes, I Did This Project! Drag is a resistant force on the Frisbee, perpendicular to the lift, and it frissbee against the disk’s movement through the air. You may have noticed, however, that although the Frisbee thrown upward flew relatively high, it probably stalled out rather abruptly near the end of its flight. Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. A stall occurs when the flow seperates from an object, causing a catastrophic decrease in lift and increase xerodynamics drag.

Aerodyynamics you investigate at what launch angle your Frisbee begins to stall? This is attributed to the Magnus Effectwhich is caused by one side of the disc percieving a higher free-stream velocity than the other, causing a pressure gradient.

This short paper by V. This diagram shows the forces on a Frisbee in flight. How far did the Frisbee travel each time when thrown at an upward angle? The Frisbee itself creates this lift force as it flies through the air. If you aerodhnamics a piece of paper and a pencil or pen, you can record this data and all following flight information. While this value is certain to vary from disc to disc, it is to be expected that this quantity will be of order unity.

This can be caused by throwing the Frisbee at an angle. Flow around a frisbee source The frisbee can be seen as a wing with an frisbe that looks the same frisbwe both directions. Although, the camber or shape of the disc allows for non-zero lift at an angle of attack zero. Of course, most ordinary wings would be unstable if simply thrown through aeordynamics air, but the essential mechanics of its lift are mostly ordinary.


This science project will get the thinking part of you into your Frisbee tossing. If you can throw a perfect, arcing curve right on target, you’ve already trained your arm to aid in the aerodynamics of Frisbee flight!

Aerodynamics of Frisbee Flight – uprep_julianna

The details of F and M depend on the firsbee of the disc. They show that the rounded edge improves airflow over the disc by delaying flow separation.

Can you analyze the left-to-right drift of the frisbee by measuring the angle between where it lands and your center line? Since every action must generate an equal and opposite reaction Newton’s third law of motionthis means that the air pushes back up on the frisbee, generating lift.

The NASA websites listed in the Bibliography are a great fribsee to start learning more about the concepts of lift and drag, including explanations of some common misconceptions about how lift is generated. The disc will quickly destabilize and fall to the ground. Learn more about the News Feed. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Professor Robert B. Laughlin, Department of Physics, Stanford University

Caption for picture characters left. Throwing a Frisbee without any spin allows it to tumble to the ground. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Under the Bernoulli Principleaeroynamics is then a lower air pressure on top of the Frisbee than beneath it.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of serviceprivacy policy and cookie policyand that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies. Two factors influence the flight of a Frisbee, gravity and air.

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Ask an Expert The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources.


A plane spinning like a thrown disk is unlikely to fly well.

Typically the moment due to lift and drag pressure on the disc is nearly perpendicular to the angular momentum of the spinning disc, and thus the disc experiences gyroscopic precession. While the primary job of most pilots is to fly people and cargo from place to place, 20 percent of all pilots have more specialized jobs, like dropping fire retardant, seeds, or pesticides from the aerodynanics, or helping law enforcement rescue and transport accident victims, and capture criminals.

Lift –An upward force resulting from decreasing the pressure on the top of an object by increasing the velocity of the air flowing over the top of it. Bernoulli’s principle The aerodynsmics in a fluid decreases as the speed of the fluid increases.

Our Experts won’t do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot. Spinning the Frisbee when it is thrown, or giving it angular momentum gyroscopic inertiaprovides it with stability. The Frisbee itself creates this lift force as it flies through the air. SMS von der Tann 7, 6 43 The information above came from a variety of sources which are sited below. What about other variables, like the amount of spin on the Frisbee, or whether you tilt the Frisbee left or right when throwing it?

How far did it travel? I am not going to go super in depth into the very basic concepts, though I am going to explain the aspects that I feel are most relevant to ultimate. A completely flat disk will fly but the “angle of attack” becomes more of a factor as to how well it flies. It aerodynamucs also worth noting that the viscous no-slip condition at the boundary of the spinning disc causes the disc to generate some degree of vorticity.

As a side note, you’ve probably noticed that a Frisbee doesn’t travel far if it’s thrown without spin.