MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Calculating the lift of a Ski Jumper

Date: Wed Jun 14 13:47:41 2006
Posted By: Madhu Siddalingaiah, Physicist, author, consultant
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1144364459.Ph


That's an interesting question. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to
calculate the lift of a ski jumper. Bernoulli's equation, as you found out,
is useful only if you know the air velocity everywhere. The problem is that
it's not easy to calculate the air velocity everywhere. Aeronautical
engineers get around this problem by directly measuring the air speed and
pressure in a wind
tunnel. It's also possible to determine these values
using sophisticated computer simulations, but that's not easy either.

However, I can help with some of the other variables. You can roughly
estimate the area by simply multiplying the width times the height of a typical
ski jumper. The air
density is a measured value that's available in most reference books.
It varies with temperature and altitude, but it's about 1.2
kg/m3 at sea level.

Madhu - blog

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