Rayleigh's method of dimensional analysis

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Rayleigh's method of dimensional analysis is a conceptual tool used in physics, chemistry, and engineering. This form of dimensional analysis expresses a functional relationship of some variables in the form of an exponential equation. It was named after Lord Rayleigh.

The method involves the following steps:

  1. Gather all the independent variables that are likely to influence the dependent variable.
  2. If R is a variable that depends upon independent variables R1R2R3, ..., Rn, then the functional equation can be written as RF(R1R2R3, ..., Rn).
  3. Write the above equation in the form X = C X_1^a X_2^b X_3^c \cdots X_n^m \, where C is a dimensionless constant and abc, ..., m are arbitrary exponents.
  4. Express each of the quantities in the equation in some fundamental units in which the solution is required.
  5. By using dimensional homogeneity, obtain a set of simultaneous equations involving the exponents abc, ..., m.
  6. Solve these equations to obtain the value of exponents abc, ..., m.
  7. Substitute the values of exponents in the main equation, and form the non-dimensional parameters by grouping the variables with like exponents.

Drawback – It doesn't provide any information regarding number of dimensionless groups to be obtained as a result of dimension analysis

See also[edit]