Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Plocamium Biomechanics

To determine the coefficient of drag for P. cartilageneum, I followed the same procedure outlined by Gaylord et al. (1994). By measuring the drag force, surface area, and flow velocity, and using the equation,

drag force = (0.5)(p)(coefficient of drag)(surface area)(velocity) 2

I determined a .10 - .11 coefficient of drag for P. cartilageneum. Most algae are in the .25 - .99 range, and a plastic bag has a coefficient of drag of .05. I attribute the relatively low value for P. cartilageneum to streamlined shape and a high degree of flexibility.

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