What Is Bernoulli’s Principle? Explain it with airplane wing and sails example

Last updated on August 27th, 2021 at 10:33 am

Bernoulli’s principle is named for Daniel Bernoulli, who presented it in 1738, and it concerns the relationship between pressure and flow speed in fluids.

In its simplest form, Bernoulli’s principle states that increasing flow speed in fluids corresponds to decreasing pressure, and vice versa.

Application of Bernoulli’s Principle – Airplane wings and Sails

Airplane wings and Sails are two areas where Bernoulli’s Principle is applied. Let’s find the details below.

How Bernoulli’s Principle is applied to design Airplane wings?

An important example is found in aviation. The airplane wing is a beautiful example of Bernoulli’s principle in action.

The wing is tilted upward at a small angle and the upper surface is longer, causing air to flow faster over it.

That means a higher flow speed on the top of the wing than on the bottom.

The pressure on top of the wing is therefore reduced, creating a net upward force or lift.

Figure (a) shows the characteristic shape of an airplane wing.

Bernoulli’s principle with applications like airplane wing and boat sails
(a) Airplane wing characteristic shape (b) Sail characteristic shape | Bernoulli’s principle applied

How Bernoulli’s Principle is applied to design the sails?

Figure (b) shows that the Sails also have the characteristic shape of a wing.

The wind velocity near the front side of the sail > wind velocity at the back end of the sail.

The pressure on the front side of the sail, Pfront , is lower than the pressure on the back of the sail, Pback .

This results in a forward force and even allows you to sail into the wind.

Related Post: You are suggested to go through the post on the derivation of Bernoulli’s equation.

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