Aerodynamics of sports fabrics and garments

Chowdhury, M 2012, Aerodynamics of sports fabrics and garments, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Aerodynamics of sports fabrics and garments
Author(s) Chowdhury, M
Year 2012
Abstract In this day and age, specially designed garments are widely used in all sports. The understanding of aerodynamic behaviour of such sports garments can lead to achieve better performance. Despite some preliminary studies on aerodynamics of sports garments been undertaken, no correlation between aerodynamic drag and lift, and fabric surface profile was established. This research aims to address this gap.

In order to establish a relationship between aerodynamic parameters (drag and lift coefficients, Reynolds number) and garment constraints (surface roughness, orientation of wale and course, seam configuration and placement), a standard cylinder testing (macro-scale) methodology for fabrics is developed by considering the athlete body as a combination of cylinders and isolating the influence other than garments. Additionally, to correlate the cylinder test data with full-scale measurements, two full-scale experimental setups (for ski jumping and cycling) are developed.

Multiple garment fabrics with varied surface profiles have been investigated over a range of Reynolds number (Re) varied by wind speeds using macro-scale and full-scale experimental setups. Based on cylinder test data, a correlation between the aerodynamic drag coefficient (CD) and relative roughness (ε = 2.58 × 10_4 to 7.38 × 10_4) for fabrics over a range of Reynolds numbers (1.0 × 105 to 2.4 × 105) has been determined. Additionally, a functional relationship between CD and Re (1.4 × 105 to 1.8 × 105) for seam orientations (0° to 180° relative to wind direction) is developed. The effect of surface roughness at inclined position (30° to 125°) indicates that rougher surfaces (ε = 5.42 × 10_4) generate a flow transition at low Re (0.4 × 105) than the smoother surface (ε = 4.73 × 10_4). Data from the macro-scale testing correlate well with the full-scale measurements.

Experimental methodologies and functional relationships developed in this study allow determining appropriate garment for a specific sport to achieve aerodynamic benefit.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Aerodynamics
wind tunnel
angle of attack
cylindrical methodology
Reynolds numbers
sports apparel
body position
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Created: Mon, 29 Oct 2012, 08:01:58 EST by Brett Fenton
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