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Old 03-19-2002, 05:16 PM
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Default Reynolds number question.

Reynolds numbers are unitless values given to flow situations so that one can compare apples to apples. It's sort of like a representation of the number molecules flowing over a surface over a given period of time, but not exactly. You are right that a full scale wing section will behave differently than a scale model wing section of the same airplane. For small wings the air seems more "syrupy", if that makes any sense. Laminar flow is preserved over a much larger percentage of the wing than at larger reynolds numbers, which correlates to larger wings and/or higher airflow speeds. Insects take full advantage of this.

If I'm not mistaken I believe Mr. Reynolds was actually in charge of the sewer system in England over a hundred years ago and developed a system for calculating fluid flow through the pipes under London.