Drag coefficient of a sphere in a non-stationary flow: New results

G. Jourdan, L. Houas, O. Igra, J. L. Estivalezes, C. Devals, E. E. Meshkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The drag coefficient of a sphere placed in a non-stationary flow is studied experimentally over a wide range of Reynolds numbers in subsonic and supersonic flows. Experiments were conducted in a shock tube where the investigated balls were suspended, far from all the tube walls, on a very thin wire taken from a spider web. During each experiment, many shadowgraph photos were taken to enable an accurate construction of the sphere's trajectory. Based on the sphere's trajectory, its drag coefficient was evaluated. It was shown that a large difference exists between the sphere drag coefficient in steady and non-steady flows. In the investigated range of Reynolds numbers, the difference exceeds 50%. Based on the obtained results, a correlation for the non-stationary drag coefficient of a sphere is given. This correlation can be used safely in simulating two-phase flows composed of small spherical particles immersed in a gaseous medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3323-3345
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2088
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2007


  • Drag coefficient
  • Non-stationary flow
  • Shock tube experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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