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- Description of Lift on an Airfoil
- r05222102-aerodynamics-i
- Ship Hydrodynamics Lecture Notes Part 5 Propeller Theories4
- Lift
- AIAA_2005_1260
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Airfoil Nomenclature

(a) Mean camber line is the locus of points halfway between the upper and

lower surfaces as measured perpendicular to the mean camber line itself.

(b) The most forward and rearward points of the mean camber line are the

leading and trailing edges respectively.

(c) The straight line connecting the leading to the trailing edge is the chord

line of the airfoil.

(d) The precise distance from the leading to the trailing edge measured along

the chord line, is designated chord, c.

(e) The camber is the maximum distance between the mean camber line and

the chord line, measured perpendicular to the chord line.

(f) The thickness is the distance between the upper and lower surfaces, also

measured perpendicular to the chord line.

(g) The shape of the airfoil at the leading edge is usually circular, with a

leading edge radius of approximately 0.02 c.

(h) The shapes of all standard NACA airfoils are generated by specifying the

shape of the mean camber line and then wrapping a specified symmetrical

thickness distribution around the mean camber line.

(i) An airfoil with no camber, that is, with the camber line and chord line

coincident is called a symmetric airfoil.

2. NACA Airfoils

(a) The first family consisted four digit series e.g., NACA 2412.

(i) The first digit represents the maximum camber in hundredths of

chord.

(ii) The second digit denotes the location of maximum camber along

the chord from the leading edge in tenths of chord.

(iii) The last two digits give the maximum thickness in hundredths of

chord.

For example, for NACA 2412, maximum camber is 0.02 c located at 0.4 c from

the leading edge and maximum thickness is 0.12 c. It is common practice to state

these numbers in percent of chord i.e., 2 percent camber at 40 percent chord with

12 percent thickness.

(b) The second family was the five digit series e.g., NACA 23012 airfoil.

(i) Here the first digit when multiplied by 3/2 gives the design lift

coefficient in tenths.

Design lift coefficient is the theoretical lift coefficient for the

airfoil when the angle of attack is such that the slope of the mean camber

line at the leading edge is parallel to the free stream velocity.

(ii) The next two digits when divided by 2 gives the location of

maximum camber along the chord from the leading edge in

hundredths of chord.

(iii) Final two digits give the maximum thickness in hundredths of

chord.

For example, NACA 23012, design lift coefficient is 0.3, the location of

maximum camber is at 0.15 c and the airfoil has 12 percent maximum thickness.

(c) The third family was the six digit series laminar airfoils developed during

the World War II e.g., NACA 65-218.

(i) The first digit here identifies the series.

(ii) The second digit gives the location of minimum pressure in tenths

of chord from the leading edge (for the basic symmetric thickness

distribution at zero lift)

(iii) The third digit is the design lift coefficient in tenths.

(iv) The last two digits give the maximum thickness in hundredths of

chord.

For example, NACA 65-218, 6 is the series designation, the minimum pressure

occurs at 0.5 c for the basic symmetric thickness distribution at zero lift, the

design lift coefficient is 0.2 and the airfoil is 18 percent thick.

Airfoil Characteristics

3. The typical variation of lift coefficient with angle of attack for an airfoil is as

shown in figure below.

(b) The slope of this straight line is denoted by ao and is called lift slope.

(c) In this linear region, the flow moves smoothly over the airfoil and is

attached over most of the surface.

(d) However as the alpha becomes large, the flow tends to separate from the

top surface of the airfoil, creating a large wake of relatively “dead” air

behind the airfoil.

(e) In this separated region, the flow is recirculating, and part of the flow is

actually moving in a direction opposite to the free stream-so called reverse

flow. This separated flow is due to viscous effects.

(f) The consequence of this separated flow at high alpha is a precipitous

decrease in lift and a large increase in drag; under such conditions the

airfoil is said to be stalled.

(g) The maximum value of cl (cl max) which occurs just prior to the stall

determines the stalling speed of an airplane. The higher is the cl max, the

lower is the stalling speed.

(h) Thus cl increases linearly with alpha until flow separation begins to have

an effect. Then the curve becomes non linear, cl reaches a maximum

value, and finally the airfoil stalls.

(i) At the other extreme of the curve, the loft at alpha = 0 is finite; indeed the

lift goes to zero only when the airfoil is pitched to some negative angle of

attack.

(j) The value of alpha when lift equals zero is called the zero lift angle of

attack and is denoted by αL=0.

(k) For a symmetric airfoil, αL=0 equals zero whereas for all airfoils with

positive camber (camber above chord line), αL=0 is a negative value,

usually of the order of –2 or 3 deg.

4. The inviscid flow airfoil theory allows us to predict the lift slope a0 and αL=0 for a

given airfoil. It does not allow us to calculate cl max, which is a difficult viscous flow

problem.

5. The moment coefficient can be calculated at any convenient point, but generally

taken about the quarter-chord point. In general, moments on an airfoil are a function of

alpha. However there is one point on the airfoil about which the moment is independent

of angle of attack; such a point is defined as the aerodynamic center.

Vortex Sheet

6. A vortex sheet can be used to synthesize the inviscid incompressible flow over an

airfoil. If the distance along the sheet is given by s and the strength of the sheet per unit

length is γ(s), then the velocity potential induced at point (x,y) by a vortex sheet that

extends from point a to point b is derived as:

(a) Strength of vortex sheet per unit length along s = γ.

(b) Let this small section of vortex sheet ds have strength γ ds.

(c) This small section induces an infinitesimally small velocity dV at point P

given by

ds

dV

2 r

(d) In terms of velocity potential (so that incremental velocities can be added

vectorally), the equation becomes

ds

d

2

(e) The velocity potential at P due to the entire vortex sheet from a to b is

b

1

2 a

( x, z ) ds

b

( s )ds

a

velocity across the sheet (similar to source sheet where discontinuity is in normal

component), i.e., 180 deg change, whereas the normal component of velocity is preserved

across the sheet. If u1 and u2 be the velocity components tangential to the vortex sheet

immediately above and below the sheet respectively, the change in tangential velocity

across the vortex sheet is related to the strength of the sheet as

γ ds = (u1-u2)ds

(or) γ = u1-u2.

Thus the local jump in tangential velocity across the vortex sheet is equal to the local

sheet strength.

characteristics of an airfoil.

(a) Consider an inviscid, incompressible flow over an airfoil of arbitrary

shape and thickness placed in the free stream of velocity v infinity.

(b) Replace the airfoil surface with a vortex sheet of variable strength γ(s).

(c) Calculate the variation of γ as a function of s such that the induced field

velocity from the vortex sheet when added to the unmiform velocity of

magnitude v infinity will make the vortex sheet (hence the airfoil surface)

a streamline of the flow.

(d) In turn, the circulation around the airfoil will be given by

b

( s )ds

a

L' V

(f) In case of a very thin airfoil, the top and bottom surface almost coincide

when vortex sheet is placed giving rise to the method of approximating a

thin airfoil by replacing it with a single vortex sheet distributed over the

camber line.

10. Kutta Condition. The Kutta condition is an observation that for a lifting

airfoil of given shape at a given angle of attack, nature adopts that particular value of

circulation around the airfoil which results in the flow leaving smoothly at the trailing

edge. The statement can be summarized as:

(a) For a given airfoil at a given angle of attack, the value of Γ around the

airfoil is such that the flow leaves the trailing edge smoothly.

(b) If the trailing edge angle is finite, then the trailing edge is a stagnation

point.

(c) If the trailing edge is cusped, then the velocities leaving the top and

bottom surfaces at the trailing edge are finite and equal in magnitude and

direction.

(d) At trailing edge, γ(TE) =γ(a) = V1-V2

(i) For cusped trailing edge, V1=V2<>0 and hence γ(TE) = 0.

(ii) For finite angle trailing edge, V1=V2=0 and hence γ(TE) = 0.

(e) Nature enforces Kutta condition by means of friction. That is why the

viscous boundary layer remains attached to the surface all the way to the

trailing edge. If there were no boundary layer (no friction), there would be

no physical mechanism in the real world to achieve Kutta condition.

11. The time rate of change of circulation around a closed curve consisting of the

same fluid elements is zero, i.e.,

D

0

Dt

This equation along with its supporting discussion is called Kelvin’s circulation theorem.

An interesting consequence of Kelvin’s circulation theorem is proof that a stream surface

which is a vortex sheet at some instant in time remains a vortex sheet for all times.

Kelvin’s theorem helps to explain generation of circulation around an airfoil as follows: -

(a) As the flow over an airfoil is started, the large velocity gradients at the

sharp trailing edge result in the formation of a region of intense vorticity

which rolls up downstream of the trailing edge, forming the starting

vortex.

(b) This starting vortex has associated with it a counter-clockwise circulation.

Therefore, as an equal-and-opposite reaction, a clockwise circulation

around the airfoil is generated.

(c) As the starting process continues, vorticity from the trailing edge is

constantly fed into the starting vortex making it stronger with a

consequent larger counter clockwise circulation. In turn, the clockwise

circulation around the airfoil becomes stronger, making the flow at the

trailing edge more closely approach the Kutta condition thus weakening

the vorticity shed from the trailing edge.

(d) Finally the starting vortex, builds up to just the right strength such that the

equal-and-opposite clockwise circulation around the airfoil leads to

smooth flow from the trailing edge (the Kutta condition is exactly

satisfied).

(e) When this happens, the vorticity shed from the trailing edge becomes zero,

the starting vortex no longer grows in strength, and a steady circulation

exists around the airfoil.

(a) Because V = 0, Γ1 = 0.

(b) Once flow is in motion over the airfoil as shown in figure (b),

(i) Initially, flow will tend to curl around the trailing edge causing

velocity to tend towards infinity. This causes velocity gradients

causing high vorticity at the trailing edge. A starting vortex is

formed.

(ii) After flow reaches steady state where flow leaves trailing edge

smoothly (Kutta condition), the starting vortex moves downstream with

the flow.

(c) If curve C2 enclosed the airfoil and starting vortex, the circulation around

curve C1 and C2 will be the same and Γ1 = Γ2 = 0.

(d) Subdividing curve C2 into two loops by making a cut at b d forming the

curves c3 and c4 enclosing the airfoil and starting vortex respectively, the

circulation around C3 is Γ3 and C4 is Γ4. Γ3 is in the counter clockwise

direction i.e., a negative value.

(e) The sum of the circulations around C3 and C4 is simply equal to the

circulation around C2:

Γ3 + Γ4 = Γ2

Since Γ2 = 0, Γ4 = -Γ3

That is, circulation around the airfoil is equal and opposite to the

circulation around the starting vortex.

CLASSICAL THIN AIRFOIL THEORY

1. The basic equations necessary for the calculation of airfoil lifts and moments are

established with an application to symmetric airfoils.

(a) We first calculate the variation of γ(s) such that the camberline becomes a

streamline of the flow and such that Kutta condition is satisfied at the

trailing edge i.e., γ(TE) = 0.

(b) Once we have found the particular γ(s) that satisfies these conditions, then

the total circulation Γ around the airfoil is found by integrating γ(s) from

the leading edge to the trailing edge.

(c) In turn, the lift is calculated from Γ via the Kutta-Joukowski theorem.

velocity Vinf, and the airfoil is at the angle of attack, α. The x-axis is oriented along the

chord line, and the z-axis is perpendicular to the chord. The distance measured along the

camberline is denoted by s. The shape of the camberline is given by z = z(x). The chord

length is c.

3. If the airfoil is thin, the camberline is close to the chordline. So let us place the

vortex sheet on the chord line. Here γ = γ(x) is calculated to satisfy this condition as well

as the Kutta condition γ(c) = 0. That is, the strength of the vortex sheet on the chord line

is determined such that the camber line (not the chord line) is a streamline.

camber line must be zero at all points along the camber line. The velocity at any point in

the flow is the sum of the uniform free stream velocity and the velocity induced by the

vortex sheet.

(a) Let w’ be the component of velocity normal to the camber line induced by

the vortex sheet w’ = w’(s).

(b) Let Vinf,n be the component of free stream velocity normal to the camber

line.

(c) Thus for the camber line to be a stream line

V , n w '( s) 0 __________________________________(1.1)

at every point along the camber line.

(d) Consider the figure below:

At any point P on the camberline where the slope of the camber line is dz/dx, the

geometry of the figure yields

dz

V , n V sin tan 1 ____________________(1.2)

dx

(e) For a thin airfoil at small angle of attack both α and arctan (-dz/dx) are

small values. Using sin θ = θ = tan θ for small θ, above equation reduces

to

dz

V , n V sin _____________________________(1.3)

dx

(f) Let us develop an expression for w(s).

(i) w’(s) is the component of velocity normal to the camber line

induced by the vortex sheet.

(ii) Let w(x) denote the components of velocity normal to the chord

line induced by the vortex sheet.

(iii) If the airfoil is thin, then

w'(s)=w(x) (approx)

(iv) To calculate the value of w(x) at location x, consider an elemental

vortex of strength γ dξ located at a distance ξ from the origin along

the chord line. The strength of the vortex sheet γ varies with the

distance along the chord i.e., γ = γ(ξ).

(v) The velocity dw at point x induced by the elemental vortex at point

ξ is given by

( )d

dw ______________________________(1.4)

2 x

(vi) The velocity w(x) induced at point x by all the elemental vortices

along the chord line is obtained by integrating the above equation

from leading edge (ξ = 0) to the trailing edge (ξ = c).

c

( )d

w( x ) ___________________________(1.5)

0

2 x

(vii) Thus by eqn (4),

c

( )d

w( x ) w '( s) _____________________(1.6)

0

2 x

(g) Equation (1) is the boundary condition necessary for the camber line to be

a stream line. Thus substituting (1.3) and (1.6) in (1.1) gives

dz

c

( )d

V 0;

dx 0 2 x

_____________________(1.7)

1 ( )d

c

dz

2 0 x

V

dx

This is the fundamental equation of thin airfoil theory and is a statement

that camber line is a stream line of the flow.

5. Now we have to solve equation (1.7) for γ(ξ) subject to the Kutta condition

namely

γ(c) = 0

(a) In this case, we consider a symmetric airfoil which has no camber; the

camber line and chord line are coincident.

(b) Hence dz/dx = 0 and equation (1.7) becomes

1 ( )d

c

2 0 x

V ________________________(1.8)

over a flat plate at a small angle of attack.

(c) To integrate this let us transform ξ into θ using the transformation

c

1 cos _____________________________(1.9)

2

(i) Since x is a fixed point, θ = θo such that

c

x 1 cos o ______________________(1.10)

2

c

(ii) From above equation, d sin d .______(1.11)

2

(iii) Substituting equations (1.10) and (1.11) in (1.8) gives

1 ( ) sin d

2 0 cos cos 0

V _________(1.12)

1 cos

( ) 2V ___________________(1.13)

sin

(d) From equation (13), it can be noted that at the trailing edge, where θ = π,

0

( ) 2V .

0

Applying L’Hospital rule,

sin

( ) 2V 0

cos

thus satisfying Kutta condition.

6. We are now in a position to calculate the lift coefficient by calculating the total

circulation. The total circulation around the airfoil is given by

c

( )d __________________________________(1.14)

0

which is transformed as

c

( ) sin d ____________________________(1.15)

20

by substituting equations (1.10) and (1.11).

(a) Now substituting equations (1.13) in (1.15) gives

c 1 cos d cV _____________(1.16)

0

(b) Substituting equation (1.16) into the Kutta-Joukowski theorem, the lift per

unit span is

L ' V c V2 _____________________(1.17)

(d) The lift coefficient is

L'

cl _________________________________(1.18)

q s

where s = c(1).

(e) Substituting equation (1.17) in (1.18) gives

c V2

cl 2 _________________________________(1.19)

q s

and lift slope is given as

dcl

2 __________________________________________(1.20)

d

(f) Thus equations (1.19) and (1.20) states that lift coefficient is linearly

proportional to angle of attack and the lift slope is 2π/ radians or 0.11/deg.

(g) This is supported by experimental results.

(a) Consider the elemental vortex of strength γ(ξ)dξ located at a distance ξ

from the leading edge. The circulation associated with this elemental

vortex is dΓ = γ(ξ)dξ. The increment of lift dL contributed by the

elemental vortex is

dL V d

(b) This incremental lift creates a moment about leading edge dM = -ξ dL.

The total moment is given by (for the entire vortex sheet)

c c

'

M LE dL V ( ) d ______________________(1.21)

0 0

(c) Transforming equation (1.21) into θ via equations (1.10) and (1.11) and

integrating,

'

M LE q c 2 / 2 _________________________________(1.22)

(d) The moment coefficient is

'

M LE

cm ,le ______________________________(1.23)

q sc 2

(e) However from equation (1.19), cl = 2πα and hence πα = cl/2. Substituting

in above equation for cm,le gives

c

cm.le l _____________________________________(1.24)

4

(f) The moment coefficient about the quarter-chord point is given by the

equation

cm ,c / 4 cm ,le cl / 4 ______________________________(1.25)

(g) Combining equations (1.24) and (1.25) gives cm,c/4 = 0.

Thus the above equation demonstrates the theoretical result that the centre of

pressure is at the quarter-chord point for a symmetrical airfoil.

attack is called the aerodynamic center. Thus from the above result, it is found that

moment about the quarter chord is zero for all values of α. Hence for a symmetric airfoil,

we have the theoretical result that the quarter chord point is both the centre of pressure

and the aerodynamic centre.

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