Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Darrell Pepper

Number of Pages



A study has been conducted to characterize the flow over a free-flying disc. In this study, three types of discs are analyzed in a series of stationary experiments, and a single disc is analyzed in a spinning experiment. Two dimensionless parameters dominate the experiments, the Reynolds number and the tip speed ratio. The first experiment measured the lift and drag at varying angles of attack on a stationary disc. The second stationary experiment was a unique measurement of the center of lift of a disc as a function of velocity. The third stationary experiment was a tuft test to describe the boundary layer, done at different velocities and angles of attack. The spinning disc experiment utilized smoke to visualize the flow around the disc and ascertain the effects of spin on vorticity and boundary layer separation. Results showed that the center of lift was behind the geometric center at low velocity and moved rapidly forward with increasing velocity. Tuft and smoke tests showed that the boundary layer was attached across the entire surface with strong vortices shed from the sides and from the rear of the disc. The flow was primarily affected by the disc's leading edge with secondary effects from the domed contour.


Aerodynamic; Airborne; Discs; Response

Controlled Subject

Mechanical engineering; Aerospace engineering; Atmospheric physics

File Format


File Size

3389.44 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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