Dimensional Similitude

Dimensional Similitude

Dimensional Similitude

11/16/17

“How can we analyze grand scale engineering projects without spending too much money?”

 

Engineering projects can really range in scale. They can go as large as skyscrapers pushing over a hundred floors, or as small as microdevices that inhabit the mystical world of quantum mechanics. However, if we want to perform any tests at this scale, it would be prohibitively expensive. So how can we use our engineering mindset to get around this problem? Well, we know that equations for physical phenomena tend to be the same regardless of scale. So what if we were to build a model at a more manageable size, perform our tests, retrieve the data, and then use the scale ratio to convert it? Well, this method known as dimensional similitude is used every day by engineers to drastically reduce costs. Dimensional similitude is often employed in wind tunnel tests when full scale aircraft become prohibitively expensive.

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