As was written, the drag characteristics of a body is represented by the dimensionless drag coefficient, CD, defined as:
The reference area, A, is defined as the area of the orthographic projection of the object on a plane perpendicular to the direction of motion. For hollow objects, the reference area may be significantly larger than the cross sectional area, but for non-hollow objects, it is exactly the same as a cross sectional area. As can be seen, the drag coefficient is primarily a function of the shape of the body and taking into account both skin friction and form drag. It may also depend on the Reynolds number and the surface roughness.
When the friction and pressure drag coefficients are available, the total drag coefficient is determined by simply adding them:
At low Reynolds numbers, most drag is due to friction drag. This is especially the case for highly streamlined bodies such as airfoils. On the other hand, at high Reynolds number, the pressure drop is significant, which increases form drag.