The Magnus Effect: A Summary of Investigations to Date

[+] Author and Article Information
W. M. Swanson

Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

J. Basic Eng 83(3), 461-470 (Sep 01, 1961) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3659004 History: Received August 01, 1960; Online November 04, 2011


The Magnus force on a rotating body traveling through a fluid is partly responsible for ballistic missile and rifle shell inaccuracies and dispersion and for the strange deviational behavior of such spherical missiles as golfballs and baseballs. A great deal of effort has been expended in attempts to predict the lift and drag forces as functions of the primary parameters, Reynolds number, ratio of peripheral to free-stream velocity, and geometry. The formulation and solution of the mathematical problem is of sufficient difficulty that experimental results give the only reliable information on the phenomenon. This paper summarizes some of the experimental results to date and the mathematical attacks that have been made on the problem.

Copyright © 1961 by ASME
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