How to create a schematic that shows pressure and force distribution around a blunt body (for e.g. a cylinder) and an airfoil? Where can one get the data for these distributions? I looked for these schematics in some of the well known books on aerodynamics (By John Anderson for e.g.) I couldn't find them. Referring me to a literature that has these schematics would be helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ Lots of stuff on this, also reesearch wind tunnels. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 8 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


I assume you refer to a schematic like the following

enter image description here

If the actual pressure is needed you would need to do it experimentally:

  1. to create a replica of the body surface and locate around it (as many as you can afford and its possible) pitot-tubes.
  2. Then you would need to find a calibrated wind tunnel that fits the object
  3. Perform a wind tunnel test for the angle and speed that you want (and record the pitot tubes at a high enough frequency)
  4. Once the "noise" is filtered (usually through some sort of averaging or low pass filter), the pressure between points is interpolated using some sort of spline.

Of course, the above procedure is very expensive and its time consuming -- I doubt this type of research is carried out at nowadays. What usually happens for the plot generation nowadays is to perform some type of computation analysis with some type of CFD software.

There are many Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) packages available, that can perform the creation of a schematic like the above in a matter of hours. (of course the main problem is that in order to get meaningful results you'd need years of training and experience).

  • $\begingroup$ @ NMech, yes, I referred to the schematic as in the above image. Yes, CFD would be the way to go. Do you know any literature that has these schematics? I am not concerned in the accuracy of the values, I just need these schematics for a document. $\endgroup$
    – Aim
    Jan 8 at 7:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ you can just do a search on "airfoil pressure distribution". $\endgroup$
    – NMech
    Jan 8 at 8:39

Ansys has versatile CFD applications, and many free sites with free examples and some free books, some discounted books. It offers student prices and some start-up versions with lower prices.

one of the sites that have some free tutorials is this Ansys


a cube drag.


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