Magnus effect

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Magnus effect

[′mäg·nəs i‚fekt]
(fluid mechanics)
A force on a rotating cylinder in a fluid flowing perpendicular to the axis of the cylinder; the force is perpendicular to both flow direction and cylinder axis. Also known as Magnus force.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Magnus Effect


the appearance of a transverse force acting on a body that is rotating in a liquid or gas flow incident on it. It was discovered in 1852 by the German scientist H. G. Magnus. For example, if a noncirculatory flow passes around a rotating, infinitely long circular cylinder perpendicular to its generatrices, then because of fluid viscosity the flow velocity increases on the side where the direction of the flow velocity and the rotation of the cylinder coincide and decreases on the side where they are opposite. Consequently, the pressure increases on one side and is reduced on the other—that is, a transverse force appears; its magnitude is determined by the Zhukovskii theorem. An analogous force also occurs when a flow encounters a rotating sphere. This accounts for the nonrectilinear flight of a spinning tennis or soccer ball. The transverse force is always directed away from the side of the rotating body on which the direction of rotation and the flow are opposite and toward the side on which the directions coincide.

The Magnus effect was used in 1922-26 by the German engineer A. Flettner in constructing a rotor ship with rotating cylinders (wind-driven towers) instead of sails. In a crosswind a force that thrusts the ship acts on the cylinders. However, such ships were not used because they were not economical.


Prandtl, L. Gidroaeromekhanika, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1951. (Translated from German.)
Khaikin, S. E. Fizicheskie osnovy mekhaniki. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Magnus effect

Magnus effectclick for a larger image
Lift created by spinning cylinder.
The effect on a spinning cylinder or sphere moving through the fluid, in which a force acts perpendicular to the direction of the spin. As applied to aeronautics in experimental wing forms, the Magnus theory states that if air is directed against a smooth, revolving cylinder, whose circumferential speed is greater than that of the air current, a force is directed against one side of the cylinder—air compressed on one side and vacuum formed on the other—creating lift. Named after physicist Heinrich Gustav Magnus (1802–1870).
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
References in periodicals archive ?
We note that the force of resistance opposes the speed, always aiming to slow the ball, while the Magnus effect force is perpendicular to both the velocity vector and the velocity vector, the sense of force being given by the drill rule.
The author acknowledges omission of this element when he states, "the forces that act upon a baseball after it is released--downward gravitational force and air resistance." The ball's rotation creates another force, usually referred to as the Magnus effect. This is what makes curve balls curve and fastballs rise.
In this phenomenon, called the Magnus effect, the resulting differences in pressure lead to a sideward force on the cylinder.
The lift on an airplane wing is considered to be a Magnus effect, since a wing generates lift by the circulation it induces around itself due to its specially chosen shape.
Later on I borrowed a concept called the Magnus effect of Bernouli's fluid-flow equation - the principle that makes airplanes take off from the ground and turns them upside down.
Rae's computer simulations suggest that this motion introduces an additional aerodynamic force, known as the Magnus effect, that essentially cancels out a football's tendency to drift to one side during its flight.
The phenomenon, which fluid dynamicists call the Magnus effect, can send a ping-pong ball curving up, down, left, or right - always at a right angle to the direction of motion - depending on which way the ball is spun.
This lateral deflection of a ball in flight is generally known as the 'Magnus effect'." (ANI)