A Robotic Jump Rope Device

The 63rd Annual DFD (Division of Fluid Dynamics) Meeting was hosted this year by the University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society (APS) exists for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of the physics of fluids with special emphasis on the dynamical theories of the liquid, plastic and gaseous states of matter under all conditions of temperature and pressure.

One of the presentations at the meeting will be, “The aerodynamics of jumping rope". It will be held at 2:31 p.m. on Sunday, November 21, 2010 in the Hyatt Regency, Convention centre.

It is an attempt to study the physics underlying the functioning of jump ropes, which could help understand important engineering principles; Jeff Aristoff and Howard Stone of Princeton University have built themselves a robotic jump rope device. This device controls all the rope parameters -- rope rotation rate, rope density, diameter, length, and the distance between “hands.”

The motion of the ropes is captured by high-speed cameras, one to the side and one at the end. A comparison is then made between the observed behaviour and the predictions made by their equations.

“Our main discovery is how the air-induced drag affects the shape of the rope and the work necessary to rotate it,” says Princeton researcher Jeff Aristoff. “Aerodynamic forces cause the rope to bend in such a way that the total drag is reduced.” Similar to how leaves do when they bend out of the wind. This deflection or twisting is most important in the middle of the rope and the least at the ends. If the rope is too light it might not clear the body of the jumper.

Implications for successful skipping will be discussed, and a demonstration is possible,” said Aristoff about his presentation at the meeting. “Fluid dynamic effects on long flexible filaments occur in both engineered structures and many natural systems, so insights from the jump rope will hopefully inform other common situations,” he added.

The APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room will contain dozens of story tips on some of the most interesting results at the meeting as well as stunning graphics and videos. The Virtual Press Room will serve as starting points for journalists who are interested in covering the meeting but cannot attend in person. Every year, the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics hosts posters and videos that show stunning images and graphics from either computational or experimental studies of flow phenomena. The outstanding entries, selected by a panel of referees for artistic content, originality and ability to convey information, will be honored during the meeting, placed on display at the Annual APS Meeting in March of 2011, and will appear in the annual Gallery of Fluid Motion article in the September 2011 issue of the American Institute of Physics' journal, Physics of Fluids.

This year, selected entries from the 28th Annual Gallery of Fluid Motion will be hosted as part of the Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room.

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