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Q:

What is vortex shedding and why does it form?

A:

When an object moves quickly through the air, it has to deal with air resistance, or drag. If the object is not streamlined (made to move smoothly through the air), it will instead leave turbulences behind it, or areas of choppy air. This is called vortex drag. However, due to the movement of the air, the vortex will not keep its shape: it will shed, with the air moving in specific patterns. This will slow the plane down, which is why engineers want to avoid it entirely, and will design the plane to be a aerodynamically shaped as possible. 

Categories: Aerodynamics