Science Models
Science Fair Projects

Published on Jan 26, 2016


The objective:

My objective is to determine if airplanes will stall, or suddenly lose necessary lift, at a steeper angle of attack if the dimple design of a golf ball is applied to the airfoil's surface.


2 identical airfoils made from balsa wood are tested in a homemade, open-circuit wind tunnel approximately 4 feet long. It is powered by a vacuum cleaner blowing into the front and a house fan pulling the air from the rear.

Strings taped on the top of the airfoil (known as tufts when applied this way) indicate stall. To test, I slowly increase the airfoil's pitch while the tunnel is running and record its angle of stall.

I do this 15 times while the airfoil is still smooth, I then add dimples to the top of the airfoil and test it 15 more times. I repeat with the second airfoil to ensure valid data.

Dimples on Aeroplane Wings


The airfoils slightly performed better dimpled over smooth in every comparison regarding stall.


Test results show that dimpled wings stall at a slightly steeper, yet consistant, angle of attack. Research following my experimentation indicate that dimples may create friction on a wing's surface hindering its performance.

If this problem is solved this concept can theoreticly shorten take-offs and landings (STOL) and allow aircraft to be more manuverable; futhermore, I believe that my experiment has supported my hypothesis that dimpled wings stall at a steeper angle of attack than a traditional smooth wing.

Science Fair Project done By Michael B. Patacsil