You will be throwing the Frisbee so that it is directed down this center line. If you have not thrown a Frisbee much before, you may want to try practicing it for a little while. Tip: A good way to throw a Frisbee is by standing sideways with the Frisbee held in front of you near your non-tossing shoulder , then bringing the disk horizontally across you before you release it. You can have a helper watch to confirm the angle at which you throw the Frisbee.
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Questions What are the forces acting on a Frisbee in flight? Can you think of other devices in which angular momentum is important for them to function? How do you think the launch angle of the Frisbee affects the distance of flight? Bibliography The Exploratorium What effect does the rim of a frisbee have on its flight? The Physics of Frisbee. University of Florida, Undergraduate Physics Newsletter.
Even though there is not anything specific on Frisbee flight, you can still learn a lot about how Frisbees fly by learning about aerodynamic forces on other types of airfoils. Check out the sections on gliders, the lift simulator program, lift, and drag.
See the following NASA page for explanations of why some of these popular theories are incorrect. Incorrect Lift Theory. Learn more about the News Feed Materials and Equipment String, chalk, or a hose Frisbee Optional: Masking tape and marker Optional: Helper for measuring and throwing back the Frisbee Optional: Video camera and a second helper to run it Lab notebook Experimental Procedure Do your background research and learn about the forces on the Frisbee in flight. Use string, chalk, or a hose to make a center line for aiming your throws.
The length of the line will depend on how far you think you can throw a Frisbee, but several meters is a good starting point. Practice throwing the Frisbee down the center line a few times so you get used to tossing it. If you have not thrown a Frisbee much before, you may want to try practicing it for a little while. Tip: A good way to throw a Frisbee is by standing sideways with the Frisbee held in front of you near your other shoulder , then bringing the Frisbee horizontally across you as you throw it.
Also practice throwing the Frisbee just as hard with the same amount of effort each time. If you throw the Frisbee really hard sometimes, but really softly other times, this will affect your results. If your tape measure is not as long as your typical Frisbee throw, you can make a longer tape measure using a piece of string. Mark off regular intervals with tape labels and a marker, and you are in business. Throw the Frisbee as flat and horizontal as you can, aiming it down the center line.
You can use a helper to help you collect this data. Record this data in your lab notebook. If you have a video camera, you can use it to help you analyze the launch angle of the Frisbee. Set it up near you so that it can record your throw without your body blocking the view. Later you can watch and stop the video at the moment that you release the Frisbee and measure the launch angle of the Frisbee.
See the Make It Your Own tab for suggestions on how to do this in more detail. If you do not use a video camera, then you or a helper will have to watch closely and estimate the launch angle for each throw. Here is one method you can try: Hold one arm out horizontally and use the other arm to try to match the launch angle that you saw.
You can have a helper use a protractor to measure the angle between your arms. If there is wind, note the wind speed and direction in your notebook.
If you clearly made a mistake on the throw for example, if the release was way off the center line then do not include it in your results. Repeat step 5 at least nine more times, making a total of at least ten good throws thrown from the horizontal angle. Try your best to throw with similar arm motion and speed, and impart a similar spin on the Frisbee each time.
You want to have the same release point so that your arm is directed along the center line for each launch. For each throw, be sure to measure and record the results.
Repeat steps but try throwing the Frisbee with two different positive and two different negative launch angles refer to Figures 3 in the Introduction for a reminder about what positive and negative launch angles mean. Make at least ten good throws at each of the four of these launch angles. To measure the effect of launch angle on Frisbee flight, you will need to try your best to keep all other aspects of the flight the same, as described in step 6a.
The one thing you want to vary is the launch angle. When you are done collecting your data, average your results the distance and direction for each launch angle. Make a graph with flight distance on the y-axis and launch angle on the x-axis. Is there a relationship between launch angle and distance? Can you explain your results in terms of the aerodynamic forces on the Frisbee? Aerospace Engineer Humans have always longed to fly and to make other things fly, both through the air and into outer space—aerospace engineers are the people that make those dreams come true.
They design, build, and test vehicles like airplanes, helicopters, balloons, rockets, missiles, satellites, and spacecraft. They build, test, and maintain parts for air and spacecraft, and assemble, test, and maintain the vehicles as well. They are key members of a flight readiness team, preparing space vehicles for launch in clean rooms, and on the launch pad.
They also help troubleshoot launch or flight failures by testing suspect parts. Read more Pilot Pilots fly airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft to accomplish a variety of tasks.
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 air, or helping law enforcement rescue and transport accident victims, and capture criminals. Pilots enjoy working and helping people in the "third dimension. They conduct pre-flight inspections to make sure an aircraft is safe. They also inspect the work of aircraft mechanics, and keep detailed records of work done to maintain or repair an aircraft.
As problems are identified, they may make changes to maintenance schedules, and may be called upon to investigate air accidents. Read more Variations What happens if you include the complication of wind in the equation? Across the wind? With the wind? How will launch angle change the flight in each of these conditions? What differences do you notice? Can you explain them in terms of aerodynamic forces? When you throw the Frisbee at very high launch angles, it may experience stall.
Aerodynamic stall occurs when the lift force drops dramatically and the drag force increases. This can be very dangerous when it occurs in airplanes. Can you investigate at what launch angle your Frisbee begins to stall?
For directions on how to use a video camera and computer program to analyze the launch angle and flight path of a Frisbee, see the Science Buddies project How Far Can You Throw or Kick a Ball? Can you analyze the left-to-right drift of the frisbee by measuring the angle between where it lands and your center line?
Does the launch angle affect the left to right movement? What about other variables, like the amount of spin on the Frisbee, or whether you tilt the Frisbee left or right when throwing it? Share your story with Science Buddies! Yes, I Did This Project! Please log in or create a free account to let us know how things went.
Soaring Science: The Aerodynamics of Flying a Frisbee
Introduction The flying disc dates back to the ancient Indian chakram, early versions of olympic discus, and clay targets used for trapshooting. The flying disc was popularized by the toy company Wham-O with its introduction of the trademarked "Frisbee" in This remarkable feat of aerodynamics and gyroscopic stability was discovered rather than predicted. The physics of its flight is subtle and remarkable. Lift and Drag To first approximation, a flying disc is simply an axi-symmetric wing with an elliptical cross-section. Of course, most ordinary wings would be unstable if simply thrown through the air, but the essential mechanics of its lift are mostly ordinary. If a typical commercial flying disc were a perfectly flat disc, CL would be zero at an angle of attack of zero.
The 'Ultimate' Science Fair Project: Frisbee Aerodynamics
Questions What are the forces acting on a Frisbee in flight? Can you think of other devices in which angular momentum is important for them to function? How do you think the launch angle of the Frisbee affects the distance of flight? Bibliography The Exploratorium
The Aerodynamics of Flying a Frisbee
The Aerodynamics and Stability of Flying Discs