When talking about cars and tires, camber refers to the angle between the tire and the ground. Zero degrees of camber means that the tire is perpendicular to the ground. Positive camber means that the top of the tire sticks out, while the bottom is tucked underneath. Negative camber, which is much more common in racing applications and even on street vehicles, means that the tire is tilted inwards at the top and outwards at the bottom.

This helps to offset body roll during turns; as the car's inertia causes the inside of the tire to lift and the outside to be pressed down harder, having negative camber means that the contact patch is actually square, and each bit of rubber is subject to the same amount of weight, and is therefore putting forth the same amount of force to make the car turn.

In airfoil design, camber is a dissymmetry between the upper and lower defining curves of an airfoil. Typically, this involves having a normal upper curve while modifying the lower curve so it comes closer to the chord line. A symmetric airfoil is symmetric over the chord line. The lower curve will have a point of inflection.

Cambering an airfoil is done to provide positive lift at zero angle of attack. The effect is due to Bernoulli's Principle and the Continuity Equation, which summarizes to: the air flowing over the top of the wing will have greater velocity and thus lower pressure than the air flowing under the wing, and this pressure difference produces lift. A symmetric airfoil, that is, one with no camber, will not have lift at zero angle of attack because the path above and below the airfoil is the same. However, the shorter path provided under a wing by a cambered airfoil allows lift to be generated, even if the wing is not angled upward.

Cambered airfoils are used on most modern aircraft. Exceptions are aerobatic craft, such as the Extra 300, and military fighters. These types of aircraft need to be able to perform unusual manuvers, notably, flying knife edge, where the fuselage produces lift and a cambered wing would cause the plane to yaw, or flying upside-down, where a cambered wing would just make the plane decend.

The high-lift systems on airliners and cargo airplanes, consisting of flaps and slats, is actually just a conspiracy to increase the apparent camber of the wings so the airplane can takeoff at a lower speed. However, such a heavily cambered wing will stall at a much lower angle of attack, and is less efficient, which is why the flaps and slats are retracted soon after the airplane leaves the ground.

A company called Camber makes inexpensive drum cymbals. The alloys used are more on the brass side, which makes for cymbals that don't resonate well or which have poor overtones. Camber cymbals are typically sold with the very low-end drum kits. The three big cymbal companies, Zildjian, Sabian and Paiste, have produced low-end cymbals that use better alloys, which sound marginally better. If you're a proficient drummer, you'd stick to the big three makers and use their best cymbals, as the cheapies tend to sound like pot lids and trash cans.

Engineering: aerodynamics: camber

An expansion to pao's excellent description, above.

Camber is any upward convex curvature in a structure, especially an aerodynamic shape such as a wing or a sail. A line drawn between the two endpoints of the arc is the chord of the arc. The camber ratio is the maximum depth of the arc divided by the length of the chord.

The camber ratio is an important characteristic of any aerodynamic shape, but by itself it does not describe the arc.

  • Marino, Emiliano; The Sailmaker's Apprentic: A guide for the self-reliant sailor; International Marine; © 1994 International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; ISB 0-07-157980-X

Cam"ber (?), n. [Of. cambre bent, curved; akin to F. cambrer to vault, to bend, fr. L. camerare to arch over, fr. camera vault, arch. See Chamber, and cf. Camerate.]

1. Shipbuilding

An upward convexity of a deck or other surface; as, she has a high camber (said of a vessel having an unusual convexity of deck).

2. Arch.

An upward concavity in the under side of a beam, girder, or lintel; also, a slight upward concavity in a straight arch. See Hogback.

Camber arch Arch., an arch whose intrados, though apparently straight, has a slightly concave curve upward. -- Camber beam Arch., a beam whose under side has a concave curve upward.


© Webster 1913.

Cam"ber, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Cambered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Cambering.]

To cut bend to an upward curve; to construct, as a deck, with an upward curve.


© Webster 1913.

Cam"ber, v. i.

To curve upward.


© Webster 1913.

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