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Aerodynamically Augmented Air-Hockey Pucks

Abstract
Air hockey is an interesting fast-paced arcade game which involves levitating a puck at a very small height from above the table allowing it to traverse seamlessly on a cushion of air and participants on either side of the table striking the puck with a handheld paddle. Over a period of time, the game becomes predictable and less challenging for a player with significant experience. Primary goal of this research is to make the game more exciting and we do this by naturally generating lateral and rotational aerodynamic forces on the puck by adding patterns and features on the bottom surface of the puck. This creates an asymmetry in the flow and generates pressure gradients along the pattern walls and a net unbalanced force is exerted on the puck throughout the game as long as air keeps flowing through the table. In this work, we provide a comprehensive study of numerical and experimental results for design-based optimizations that produce lateral and rotational motion with insights obtained from prior work.
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