Hydrodynamic regimes and drag on horizontally pulled floating spheres

Farrukh Kamoliddinov, Ivan Uriev Vakarelski, Sigurdur T Thoroddsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We use high-speed imaging to investigate the movement of a floating sphere pulled horizontally along a water surface. The model sphere is 10 cm in diameter and has half of the water density resulting in a half-submerged static sphere. By varying the pulling force, we investigate the flow dynamics in the subcritical Reynolds number range, of Re ≈ 2 × 104 to 2 × 105. We characterize three hydrodynamic regimes with the increase in the pulling force, to which we refer to as: low Froude number, Fr < 0.6, intermediate, 0.6 < Fr < 1.2 and high Froude number, Fr > 1.2 regimes. In the low Fr regime, the sphere moves with little disturbance of the water surface and the drag is close to half of the drag on a fully submerged sphere. In the intermediate Fr regime, a pronounced wave pattern is developed which together with the dipping of the sphere below the water level leads to an increase in the drag force. Based on a potential flow approximation for the downward force on the sphere moving along the surface, we derive a semiempirical relation for the sphere dipping as a function of the Froude number. Finally, in the high Fr regime, the sphere movement switches to a mode of periodic dipping below and surfacing above the water surface. The periodic vertical motion portrays a decrease in the average drag force
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)093308
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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