MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kite Flying: Fun, Art and Science

Arshad Saleem Bhatti
Professor
Department of Physics
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
Park Road Campus
Islamabad 44000
Pakistan

This lesson presents the basics of aerodynamics by using kite flying as an example, i.e., forces acting on a flying object. Students will measure the net force acting on a kite due to blowing air and will learn how a simple instrument like a spring can be used to measure such force. They will also examine and experience how the force on the kite is transferred to the string in the form of tension and will again measure that tension with a simple spring. This lesson will take about 30 minutes to complete. One will need a calibrated spring to measure forces, as well as a few springs to study the coplanar forces.

Arshad Bhatti obtained his first degree in Physics from the University of the Punjab in Lahore before completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. His interests include studying the science of Nature. He is passionate about teaching and loves to teach undergraduate students.

This site, sponsored by Real World Physics Problems, presents a clear examination of the physics of kite flying.

http://www.real-world-physics-problems.com/physics-of-kite-flying.html

This site provides another fun and comprehensive overview of the physics of kite flying.
http://www.unc.edu/~kmmcdona/physics%20web%20project/physics%20web%20project/kites.html

This is a Wikipedia article about Bernoulli's principle and Bernoulli's equation in fluid dynamics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli’s_principle

This link is sponsored by Science Bits: A Random Walk in Science and presents a comprehensive discussion of Stokes Drag (free fall and linear air drag force).
http://www.sciencebits.com/MR_Stokes_Drag

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