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## Calculation of Section Modulus and Bending Inertia of Wings

Steven De Lannoy Jun-13
This document and more information can be found on my website Wingbike - a Human Powered Hydrofoil.

Abstract When calculating the section modulus and bending inertia of a wing, calculations can be simplified in two ways. Firstly, representing the cross-section of the wing by a rectangular box. Secondly, using numerical approximations (requiring Excel). In this document, these two methods are presented: Rectangular Box 1. Section Modulus for a solid wing 2. Section Modulus for a hollow wing 3. Bending Inertia for a solid wing 4. Bending Inertia for a hollow wing Numerical method 5. Bending Inertia method 1 (solid & hollow) 6. Bending Inertia method 2 (solid & hollow) (eq 3) (eq 8) (eq 10) (eq 14)

the bending Inertia. Two methods will be presented, both valid for solid and hollow foils (section 5 and 6). 1. Section Modulus solid

In any engineering handbook one can find the section modulus for a solid beam with a rectangular crosssection. We will use Wikipedia as it is the most universal source [1]:

## (1) Where S = section modulus b = width h = height [m ] [m] [m]

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Since we will be working with the cross-section of foils, Introduction When calculating stress and deflection in wings, the section modulus and the bending Inertia are required. For a beam with a rectangular cross-section the equations can be found in any Engineering textbook. However, the cross-section of a foil is usually asymmetrical and often hollow. This complicates the calculations. By representing the foil cross-section by a rectangular, calculations will be greatly simplified and the outcome has a reasonable accuracy. This paper aims at explaining the equations that lead to these calculations (sections 1, 2, 3 and 4). When more accuracy is required and the coordinates (shape) of the cross-section is known) a fairly simple numerical schema (in Excel) can be used to calculate Brooks [3] has used another correction for the HQ family of foils by multiplying c with a factor 0,45 (3) Now equation (1) becomes: (2) Besnard [2] has shown that a cross-section of a foil can be represented by a rectangular, if the chord and thickness are corrected in the following way: multiply t with 0,85 and multiply c with 0,75 it is more appropriate to use other symbols: width is chord (c) and height is thickness (t).

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It is easy to see that the section modulus of a solid foil is approximately 45% to 54% (depending on the method) of the section modulus of a solid beam with the same dimensions, leading to approximately twice as much stress. In the remainder of this document we will be using the correction presented by Brooks [3]. The above equations are only valid for solid foils. This is mostly not the case. Examples 2. Section Modulus hollow back to our engineering handbook (or Lets take some typical values of a human powered hydrofoil and compare the different methods:
Chord Thickness Skin 150 mm 20 mm 2 mm

(8)

Going

## Wikipedia) the section modulus of a hollow beam is:

The table below shows the section modulus using the (4) Where B = outer width H = outer height b = inner width h = outer height [m] [m] [m] [m]
c t Solid Holow approx 10.000 5.017 -

## different methods for solid and hollow foils.

Standard Besnard Brooks 0,75 0,85 5.419 2.718 2.644 4.500 2.257 2.196 0,45

Again, using different symbols and correcting the chord with 0,45 (according to Brooks) the equation becomes: (5)

The last line in the table (approx) is the outcome of equation 8 and shows the marginal error that is introduced by simplifying equation 7.

3. Often c and t are not known, but usually the thickness of the skin (Sk) is known. With this we can substitute:

## Bending Inertia solid

Analog to the method described above, one can derive a simplified equation that calculates the bending inertia for a wing (required for tip deflection calculations). From any Engineering handbook or Wikipedia [4], the

## bending inertia for a rectangular beam is: (9)

Since the chord of a foil is usually several times larger than the skin, the factor (C-2Sk) can be replaced by C with only introducing a small error. This simplifies the equation to:

Again, changing the symbols and correcting c with a factor 0,45 yields: (10)

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and is valid for a sold foil. The last line in the table (approx) is again the outcome of equation 14 and shows the error that is introduced by simplifying the equation 13. 4. Bending Inertia hollow 5. Bending Inertia numerical method 1 The bending inertia of a hollow wing can be calculated in a very simple manner. Consider the wings outer dimensions and calculate the bending inertia as if it were a solid foil (eq 10). Then consider the foils inner dimensions and calculate the bending inertia as if it were a solid foil. Subtraction of both values leads to the bending inertia of the hollow wing. The basis for this method is described in [5] and it consists of three steps. First calculate the area of the cross-section, then calculate the neutral surface. Finally the bending inertia can be calculated. The paper uses three equations (equations 1, 2, and 3). Without going into (12) detail of the theory, an explanation of the numerical approximation is given here. The basis is to make a table in Excel (see appendix 1). Substituting the skin: In this example, we will be using the coordinates of ClarkY as it is a very basic foil with a nice flat bottom. Column 1, 2 and 3 are the coordinates that specify the Now the equation becomes: (13) shape of the cross-section. Where x is the coordinate along the chord, and Zu and Zl represent the upper and lower curves. The first step is to calculate the area of the crossAs previously mentioned, the cord of a wing is usually several times larger than the skin, the factor (C-2Sk) can be simplified to C. This simplifies the equation section. This is done by calculating the area of each interval, then adding them all up. It is more accurate to first convert Zu and Zl into average values per interval (column 4 and 5). Now the surface below the upper and lower curve can be calculated. The total surface of the cross-section is obtained by the summation of column 6 subtracted by the summation of column 7. (14) Next step is to calculate the neutral surface (z) column 8. Calculate for each interval: Examples The same typical values of a human powered hydrofoil were used. The table below shows the Section Modulus using the different methods for solid and hollow foils.
Standard C T Solid Holow approx Besnard Brooks 0,75 0,85 46.059 23.106 22.477 0,45 45.000 22.574 21.960

in

After summation of column 8, divide the total by the area previously calculated. Now the neutral surface (z) is obtained. . Finally the bending inertia can be calculated. Calculate for each step:

100.000 50.165 -

## The sum of column 9 yields the bending inertia.

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For a ClarkY foil with a chord of 150 mm and a thickness of 20 mm, this leads to a bending inertia of 56.645 mm . As stated previously, the bending inertia of a hollow foil is calculated by calculating the bending inertia for the outer shell and the inner shell as if they were solid. Then subtracting both. This will not be shown in this paper but the outcome is (skin is 2mm): 28.226 mm . The bending inertia of the hollow wing is 28.419 mm .
4 4 4

(16)

## Since K1 equals 0,036 we can re-write the equation to (17)

Conclusion Brooks and Besnard provide simple and quick equations to calculate the section modulus and bending inertia of foils (both solid and hollow). For preliminary designs they are generally considered sufficiently accurate. When more accuracy is required but simplicity is still required, two numerical methods are available of which the second one proves to be surprisingly simple and accurate. Besnard and Brooks, come within 80% of both numerical methods for a ClarkY foil. For more chambered foils, the results of all methods will converge.

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## Bending Inertia numerical method 2

The last method is a simplification of the previous method, but is surprisingly accurate. It is based on equation 7 of the source [5]. Although its a simplification, it still requires Excel. First h has to be calculated which is defined as the maximum chamber. We will be using equation 5 of the document. In appendix 2, a table with 4 columns is presented. The first three columns again represent the coordinates of the foil. The fourth column is calculated for each step:

References Which can be seen as a kind of average. Finally the Excel function MAX is used to determine the maximum value of column 4, in this case 10. Now the bending inertia can be calculated: (15) [1] [2]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_modulus

E. Besnard, A. Schmitz, K. Kaups, G. Tzong, H. Hefazi, H.H. Chen, O. Kural, and T. Cebeci, "Hydrofoil Design and Optimization for Fast Ships," Proceedings of the 1998 ASME International Congress and Exhibition, Anaheim, CA, November 1998.

As suggested KI=0,036, one can calculate I. In this case 54.000 mm . For a hollow foil, the calculation has to be performed again and then subtracted. The end result of this is 27.089 mm . Note that in this example, hmax corresponds with (1/2)t. This is because the ClarkY foil has a flat bottom. For highly chambered foils this will not be the case. Therefore, for fairly flat foils, one can skip the calculation in Excel and use h=(1/2)t. Now equation 25 becomes:
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[3]

Brooks, A.N., The 20-knot Human Powered Water Craft, Human Power, Vol.6 , No. 1, Spring 1987.

[4]

Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_area_moments _of_inertia

[5]

## Area and bending inertia of Airfoil Sections, Author unknown, http://www.core.org.cn/NR/rdonlyres/Aeronauticsand-Astronautics/16-01Fall-2005-Spring2006/7B146C84-83C9-41A9-B4586EE42A2A50B3/0/spl10b.pdf.

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Appendix 1
Wing Chord Thickness adjust + Thickness = 150 mm 14,0 % 20,00 mm

Coordinates 1 x [mm] 0,00 0,75 1,50 2,63 3,75 5,63 7,50 11,25 15,00 22,50 30,00 37,50 45,00 60,00 75,00 90,00 105,00 120,00 135,00 150,00 2 Zu [mm] 5,98 8,38 9,49 10,51 11,28 12,39 13,50 15,13 16,41 18,26 19,42 19,83 20,00 19,49 17,98 15,64 12,56 8,92 4,79 0,21 3 Zl [mm] 5,98 4,79 3,93 3,16 2,51 2,05 1,50 0,72 0,26 0,05 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 4

Average 5 Zl [mm] 5,38 4,36 3,55 2,84 2,28 1,78 1,11 0,49 0,15 0,03 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 Zu [mm] 7,18 8,93 10,00 10,90 11,84 12,95 14,32 15,77 17,33 18,84 19,62 19,91 19,74 18,74 16,81 14,10 10,74 6,85 2,50

Calculation Area 6 Area u [mm2] 5,38 6,70 11,25 12,26 22,25 24,21 53,69 59,13 130,00 141,28 147,18 149,36 296,15 281,03 252,18 211,54 161,15 102,82 37,44 2105 7 Area l [mm2] 4,04 3,27 3,99 3,19 4,29 3,32 4,17 1,83 1,15 0,19 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 29

Neutr. S 8 z [mm] 8,5 22,8 49,2 62,3 126,8 153,8 382,0 465,8 1126,6 1330,7 1444,1 1487,2 2923,6 2632,5 2119,8 1491,6 865,7 352,4 46,7

Inertia 9 I [mm4] 5,5 14,6 40,7 66,0 161,5 233,1 733,0 1116,0 3202,3 4362,9 5089,3 5379,3 10413,8 8580,6 5947,1 3802,3 2871,1 2779,0 1847,0

area z I

## 2076 mm2 8,2 mm 56.645 mm4

(sum Col. 6 - sum Col. 7) (sum Col. 8 divided by area) (sum Col. 9)

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Appendix 2

Coordinates 1 x [mm] 0,00 0,75 1,50 2,63 3,75 5,63 7,50 11,25 15,00 22,50 30,00 37,50 45,00 60,00 75,00 90,00 105,00 120,00 135,00 150,00 2 Zu [mm] 5,98 8,38 9,49 10,51 11,28 12,39 13,50 15,13 16,41 18,26 19,42 19,83 20,00 19,49 17,98 15,64 12,56 8,92 4,79 0,21 MAX I= 3 Zl [mm] 5,98 4,79 3,93 3,16 2,51 2,05 1,50 0,72 0,26 0,05 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 4 h [mm] 5,98 6,58 6,71 6,84 6,90 7,22 7,50 7,92 8,33 9,15 9,71 9,91 10,00 9,74 8,99 7,82 6,28 4,46 2,39 0,10 10,00

54.000 mm4

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