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# Lifting Line Theory

## Lifting Line Theory

Applies to large aspect ratio unswept wings at small angle of attack. Developed by Prandtl and Lanchester during the early 20th century. Relevance
Analytic results for simple wings Basis of much of modern wing theory (e.g. helicopter rotor aerodynamic analysis, extends to vortex lattice method,) Basis of much of the qualitative understanding of induced drag and aspect ratio
Thin-airfoil theory Cl=2(-o) Biot Savart Law: Velocity produced by a semi-infinite segment of a vortex filament

V=

4h

1868-1946

1875-1953

l,

-s s y

Outwash

pu<pl

pu pl

Inwash

Vortical wake

## Vortical wake induces downwash on wing

Downwash

changing angle of attack just enough to produce variation of lift across span

Wake model
b
A

Section model
Induced drag

di

l
A

Section A-A

-w

CL =
C Di =

L 2 1 2 V S
Di 1 V2 S 2

= (y) = (y)

## Total drag coeff

Geometric angle of attack Downwash angle -w=-w (y) Downwash velocity c=c (y) Chordlength s Half span l Lift per unit span di Drag per unit span

## LLT The Wake Model

-s y y1 s

dy1

Assume role up of wake unimportant Assume wake remains in a plane parallel to the free stream Model wake using single vortex sheet starting at the quarter chord Strength of vortex shed at y1= Downwash at y due to vortex shed at y1 dw( y ) = Downwash at y due to entire wake

dy y1

dy1

4 ( y y1 )

w( y ) =

4 ( y y )
1

dy y1

dy1

## LLT The Section Model

di

Assume flow over each section 2D and determined by downwash at chord, and thin airfoil theory Sectional lift coefficient

-w

Cl =
So

V l = 1 2 = 1 V2 c 2 V c 2
= V ( 0 )c + wc
d i V w

## Sectional forces Total Forces integrated over span Total Coefficients

l V

L V dy
s

Di wdy
s

L 2 CL = 1 2 s dy V S 2 V S

D 2 C Di = 1 i 2 2 wdy V S s 2 V S

## The Monoplane Equation

Wake model
l,

w( y ) =

4 ( y y )
1

dy y1

dy1
Section model

-s 0

s y

= V ( 0 )c + wc
d dy1

y / s = cos

c = V ( 0 )c + 4 s

dy y1

y y1

= 4U s

n =1, odd

A sin(n )
n

## The Monoplane Eqn.

Results
Substituting

= 4U s
CL =

n =1, odd

A sin(n )
n

into

2 dy V S s

2 C Di = 2 wdy V S s
2 CL C Di = (1 + ) AR

w( y ) =

4 ( y y )
1

dy y1

dy1

gives

C L = ARA1

n =3, odd

n( A

/ A1 ) 2

## w n =1, odd = sin V

nA sin(n )
n

So,

Lift increases with aspect ratio For planar wings at least lift goes linearly with angle of attack and lift curve slope increases with aspect ratio (to 2 at ) Drag decreases with aspect ratio and goes as the lift squared? Downwash tends to be largest at the wing tips ? Drag is minimum for a wing for which An=0 for n3.

c
4s

( 0 ) sin =

## Solution of monoplane equation

c
cn ( 0 ) sin = An sin( n ) + sin 4s 4s n =1, odd

-s 0

s y

y / s = cos

1. Decide on the number of terms N needed for the sine series for 2. Select N points across the half span, evenly spaced in 3. At each point evaluate c, , 0 and thus the NxN matrix of terms that multiplies the Ans and the N terms on the left hand side 4. Solve for the Ans by matrix division 5. Evaluate CL, CDi , w(y), and (y).

c
4s

( 0 ) sin =

## s=2.8; alpha=5*pi/180; alpha0=-5.4*pi/180; N=20; th=[1:N]'/N*pi/2; y=-cos(th)*s; c=ones(size(th)); n=1:2:2*N-1;

%Half span (distances normalized on root chord) %5 degrees angle of attack %Zero lift AoA=-5.4 deg. for Clark Y %N=20 points across half span %Column vector of theta's %Spanwise position %Rectangular wing, so c = c_r everywhere %Row vector of odd indices

llt.m

res=pi*c/4/s.*(alpha-alpha0).*sin(th); %N by 1 result vector coef=sin(th*n).*(pi*c*n/4/s+repmat(sin(th),1,N)); %N by N coefficient matrix a=coef\res; %N by 1 solution vector gamma=4*sin(th*n)*a; %Normalized on uinf and s w=-(sin(th*n)*(a.*n'))./sin(th); AR=2*s/mean(c); CL = CL=AR*pi*a(1); CDi=CL^2/pi/AR*(1+n(2:end)*(a(2:end).^2/a(1).^2));

= 4U s

n =1, odd

A sin(n )
n

ARA1

2 CL C Di = (1 + ) AR

1. Decide on the number of terms N needed for the sine series for 2. Select N points across the half span, evenly spaced in 3. At each point evaluate c, , 0 and thus the NxN matrix of terms that multiplies the Ans and the N terms on the left hand side 4. Solve for the Ans by matrix division 5. Evaluate CL, CDi , w(y), and (y).

Example
0.1

## Our AR=5.6 Rectangular Clark Y Wing

CL=0.80783, CDi=0.038738 0.2 0.15

0.05 0 0 0.1

o-5.4o
0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 x/c 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

/Vs

0.1 0.05 0 -1

-0.9

-0.8

-0.7

-0.6

-0.5

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

y/c

0 -0.05 -w/V

-0.9

-0.8

-0.7

-0.6

-0.5 y/s

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

Drag Polar
2 CL CD = AR

## If we pretend wing is elliptical

CL=0.80783, CDi=0.038738 0.2 0.15

/Vs

0.1 0.05 0 -1

-0.9

-0.8

-0.7

-0.6

-0.5

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

0 -0.05 -w/V

-0.9

-0.8

-0.7

-0.6

-0.5 y/s

-0.4

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

## The Elliptic Wing

The minimum drag occurs for a wing for which An=0 for n3. For this wing: 1.

= 4U s

n =1, odd

A sin(n ) = 4U
n
2 2

sA1 sin( )

(cos = y / s )

y 4V A s + s = 1 1

2.

= V ( 0 )c + wc

## Downwash velocity is constant across span

3.

c=

V ( 0 ) V A1

If the wing is untwisted, the chordlength is proportional to circulation and thus also has an elliptical form

Spitfire

Note that the chordlengths are all lined up along the quarter chord line so the actual wing shape is not an ellipse

Further results
C L = ARA1
But what is A1? Now
2 CL C Di = AR

w = A1 V

## Planform area of elliptic wing is

S = 1 scr 2

cr =

V ( 0 ) V A1
2 2

and

r 0 4V A s + s = 1 r = 4V A1s 1

## Substituting and solving for A1 gives And thus

A1 = 2( 0 ) /( AR + 2)

2AR( 0 ) CL = AR + 2

2( 0 ) w = V AR + 2

## Not done yet

2AR( 0 ) CL = AR + 2
2 CL C Di = AR

Consider two elliptical wings with the same section but different AR producing the same lift coefficient:

A 0 =

C L ( ARA + 2) 2ARA

B 0 =

C L ( ARB + 2) 2ARB

1 CL 1 A B = AR AR A B

Similarly, we can show the two drag coefficients are related as:

C DiA C DiB

2 CL 1 1 = AR A ARB

## Geometrically Similar Wings

These results work quite well even for non-elliptical wings:

C 1 1 A B = L AR A ARB
Prandtls Classic Rectangular Wing Data for Different Aspect Ratios

C DiA C DiB

2 CL 1 1 = AR A ARB