Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Research Sponsor

Dr. Francis Loth

First Reader

Dr. Alex Povitsky

Second Reader

Dr. Scott Sawyer


The following research paper details the preliminary research carried out by this team. The project was originally conceived to determine if Magnus Lift could be utilized in an unconventional way to assist rockets during takeoff. Several conceptual designs were proposed, but the idea was scrapped when it became apparent that the team would not be able to generate the desired lift without inducing significant amounts of drag and additional weight on a rocket. Instead, the team focused on researching an interesting topic that hasn’t been previously explored: Magnus lift on a cylinder within a duct. An experimental procedure that could be carried out in a wind tunnel at the University of Akron was designed along with several models for a test fixture. In order to predict the results of the experiment, several preliminary CFD simulations were performed. Unfortunately, due to limited time and resources, the test fixture was not built and the experiment was not carried out. However, more detailed simulations were performed. Unfortunately, the results suggested that minimal lift is generated on a duct/cylinder system compared to a spinning cylinder in open air. Several potential applications for utilizing the Magnus effect were suggested, such as assisting rockets during takeoff, or allowing trains to enter curves at higher speeds without derailing. Although Magnus effect in duct flow would likely provide negligible benefits, the potential uses for Magnus lift in open air are promising.