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BEGINEERS GUIDE TO AERONAUTICS

Airplane Parts & Their Functions

This page shows the parts of an airplane and their functions. Airplanes are transportation devices which are designed to move people and cargo from one place to another. Airplanes come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the mission of the aircraft. The airplane shown on this slide is a turbine-powered airliner which has been chosen as a representative aircraft. For any airplane to fly, you must lift the weight of the airplane itself, the fuel, the passengers, and the cargo. The wings generate most of the lift to hold the plane in the air. To generate lift, the airplane must be pushed through the air. The jet engines, which are located beneath the wings, provide the thrust to push the airplane forward through the air. The air resists the motion in the form of aerodynamic drag. Some airplanes use propellers for the propulsion system instead of jets. To control and maneuver the aircraft, smaller wings are located at the tail of the plane. The tail usually has a fixed horizontal piece (called the horizontal stabilizer) and a fixed vertical piece (called the vertical stabilizer). The stabilizers' job is to provide stability for the aircraft, to keep it flying straight. The vertical stabilizer keeps the nose of the plane from swinging from side to side, while the horizontal stabilizer prevents an up-and-down motion of the nose. (On the Wright brother's first aircraft, the horizontal stabilizer was placed in front of the wings. Such a configuration is called a canard after the French word for "duck").

At the rear of the wings and stabilizers are small moving sections that are attached to the fixed sections by hinges. In the figure, these moving sections are colored brown. Changing the rear portion of a wing will change the amount of force that the wing produces. The ability to change forces gives us a means of controlling and maneuvering the airplane. The hinged part of the vertical stabilizer is called the rudder; it is used to deflect the tail to the left and right as viewed from the front of the fuselage. The hinged part of the horizontal stabilizer is called the elevator; it is used to deflect the tail up and down. The outboard hinged part of the wing is called the aileron; it is used to roll the wings from side to side. Most airliners can also be rolled from side to side by using the spoilers. Spoilers are small plates that are used to disrupt the flow over the wing and to change the amount of force by decreasing the lift when the spoiler is deployed. The wings have additional hinged, rear sections near the body that are called flaps. Flaps are deployed downward on takeoff and landing to increase the amount of force produced by the wing. On some aircraft, the front part of the wing will also deflect. Slats are used at takeoff and landing to produce additional force. The spoilers are also used during landing to slow the plane down and to counteract the flaps when the aircraft is on the ground. The next time you fly on an airplane, notice how the wing shape changes during takeoff and landing. The fuselage or body of the airplane, holds all the pieces together. The pilots sit in the cockpit at the front of the fuselage. Passengers and cargo are carried in the rear of the fuselage. Some aircraft carry fuel in the fuselage; others carry the fuel in the wings. As mentioned above, the aircraft configuration in the figure was chosen only as an example. Individual aircraft may be configured quite differently from this airliner. The Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer had pusher propellers and the elevators at the front of the aircraft. Fighter aircraft often have the jet engines buried inside the fuselage instead of in pods hung beneath the wings. Many fighter aircraft also combine the horizontal stabilizer and elevator into a single stabilator surface. There are many possible aircraft configurations, but any configuration must provide for the four forces needed for flight.

Fuselage:

The fuselage, or body of the airplane, is a long hollow tube which holds all the pieces of an airplane together. The fuselage is hollow to reduce weight. As with most other parts of the airplane, the shape of the fuselage is normally determined by the mission of the aircraft. A supersonic fighter plane has a very slender, streamlined fuselage to reduce the drag associated with high speed flight. An airliner has a wider fuselage to carry the maximum number of passengers. On an airliner, the pilots sit in a cockpit at the front of the fuselage. Passengers and cargo are carried in the rear of the fuselage and the fuel is usually stored in the wings. For a fighter plane, the cockpit is normally on top of the fuselage, weapons are carried on the wings, and the engines and fuel are placed at the rear of the fuselage. The weight of an aircraft is distributed all along the aircraft. The fuselage, along with the passengers and cargo, contribute a significant portion of the weight of an aircraft. The center of gravity of the aircraft is the average location of the weight and it is usually located inside the fuselage. In flight, the aircraft rotates around the center of gravity because of torques generated by the elevator, rudder, and ailerons. The fuselage must be designed with enough strength to withstand these torques

Wing Geometry Definitions :

This slide gives technical definitions of a wing's geometry, which is one of the chief factors affecting airplane lift and drag. The terminology is used throughout the airplane industry and is also found in the FoilSim interactive airfoil simulation program developed here at NASA Glenn. Actual aircraft wings are complex three-dimensional objects, but we will start with some simple definitions. The figure shows the wing viewed from three directions; the upper left shows the view from the top looking down on the wing, the lower right shows the view from the front looking at the

wing leading edge, and the lower left shows a side view from the left looking in towards the centerline. The side view shows an airfoil shape with the leading edge to the left. Top View The top view shows a simple wing geometry, like that found on a light general aviation aircraft. The front of the wing (at the bottom) is called the leading edge; the back of the wing (at the top) is called the trailing edge. The distance from the leading edge to the trailing edge is called the chord, denoted by the symbol c. The ends of the wing are called the wing tips, and the distance from one wing tip to the other is called the span, given the symbol s. The shape of the wing, when viewed from above looking down onto the wing, is called a planform. In this figure, the planform is a rectangle. For a rectangular wing, the chord length at every location along the span is the same. For most other planforms, the chord length varies along the span. The wing area, A, is the projected area of the planform and is bounded by the leading and trailing edges and the wing tips. Note: The wing area is NOT the total surface area of the wing. The total surface area includes both upper and lower surfaces. The wing area is a projected area and is almost half of the total surface area. Aspect ratio is a measure of how long and slender a wing is from tip to tip. The Aspect Ratio of a wing is defined to be the square of the span divided by the wing area and is given the symbol AR. For a rectangular wing, this reduces to the ratio of the span to the chord length as shown at the upper right of the figure. AR = s^2 / A = s^2 / (s * c) = s / c High aspect ratio wings have long spans (like high performance gliders), while low aspect ratio wings have either short spans (like the F-16 fighter) or thick chords (like the Space Shuttle). There is a component of the drag of an aircraft called induced drag which depends inversely on the aspect ratio. A higher aspect ratio wing has a lower drag and a slightly higher lift than a lower aspect ratio wing. Because the glide angle of a glider depends on the ratio of the lift to the drag, a glider is usually designed with a very high aspect ratio. The Space Shuttle has a low aspect ratio because of high speed effects, and therefore is a very poor glider. The F-14 and F-111 have the best of both worlds. They can change the aspect ratio in flight by pivoting the wings--large span for low speed, small span for high speed. Front View The front view of this wing shows that the left and right wing do not lie in the same plane but meet at an angle. The angle that the wing makes with the local horizontal is called the dihedral angle. Dihedral is added to the wings for roll stability; a wing with some dihedral will naturally return to its original position if it encounters a slight roll displacement. You may have noticed that most large airliner wings are designed with diherdral. The wing tips are farther off the ground than the wing root. Highly maneuverable fighter planes, on the other hand do not have dihedral. In fact, some fighter aircraft have the wing tips lower than the roots giving the aircraft a high roll rate. A negative dihedral angle is called anhedral . Historical Note: The Wright brothers designed their 1903 flyer with a slight anhedral to enhance the aircraft roll performance. Side View A cut through the wing perpendicular to the leading and trailing edges will show the cross-section of the wing. This side view is called an airfoil, and it has some geometry definitions of its own as shown at the lower left. The straight line drawn from the leading to trailing edges of the airfoil is called the chord line. The chord line cuts the airfoil into an upper surface and a lower surface. If we plot the points that lie halfway between the upper and lower surfaces, we obtain a curve called

the mean camber line. For a symmetric airfoil (upper surface the same shape as the lower surface) the mean camber line will fall on top of the chord line. But in most cases, these are two separate lines. The maximum distance between the two lines is called the camber, which is a measure of the curvature of the airfoil (high camber means high curvature). The maximum distance between the upper and lower surfaces is called the thickness. Often you will see these values divided by the chord length to produce a non-dimensional or "percent" type of number. Airfoils can come with all kinds of combinations of camber and thickness distributions. NACA (the precursor of NASA) established a method of designating classes of airfoils and then wind tunnel tested the airfoils to provide lift coefficients and drag coefficients for designers.

Elevator:

At the rear of the fuselage of most aircraft one finds a horizontal stabilizer and an elevator. The stabilizer is a fixed wing section whose job is to provide stability for the aircraft, to keep it flying straight. The horizontal stabilizer prevents up-and-down, or pitching, motion of the aircraft nose. The elevator is the small moving section at the rear of the stabilizer that is attached to the fixed sections by hinges. Because the elevator moves, it varies the amount of force generated by the tail surface and is used to generate and control the pitching motion of the aircraft. There is an elevator attached to each side of the fuselage. The elevators work in pairs; when the right elevator goes up, the left elevator also goes up. This slide shows what happens when the pilot deflects the elevator. The elevator is used to control the position of the nose of the aircraft and the angle of attack of the wing. Changing the inclination of the wing to the local flight path changes the amount of lift which the wing generates. This, in turn, causes the aircraft to climb or dive. During take off the elevators are used to bring the nose of the aircraft up to begin the climb out. During a banked

turn, elevator inputs can increase the lift and cause a tighter turn. That is why elevator performance is so important for fighter aircraft. The elevators work by changing the effective shape of the airfoil of the horizontal stabilizer. As described on the shape effects slide, changing the angle of deflection at the rear of an airfoil changes the amount of lift generated by the foil. With greater downward deflection of the trailing edge, lift increases. With greater upward deflection of the trailing edge, lift decreases and can even become negative as shown on this slide. The lift force (F) is applied at center of pressure of the horizontal stabilzer which is some distance (L) from the aircraft center of gravity. This creates a torque T=F*L on the aircraft and the aircraft rotates about its center of gravity. The pilot can use this ability to make the airplane loop. Or, since many aircraft loop naturally, the deflection can be used to trim or balance the aircraft, thus preventing a loop. If the pilot reverses the elevator deflection to down, the aircraft pitches in the opposite direction.

Ailerons :

Ailerons can be used to generate a rolling motion for an aircraft. Ailerons are small hinged sections on the outboard portion of a wing. Ailerons usually work in opposition: as the right aileron is deflected upward, the left is deflected downward, and vice versa. This slide shows what happens when the pilot deflects the right aileron upwards and the left aileron downwards. The ailerons are used to bank the aircraft; to cause one wing tip to move up and the other wing tip to move down. The banking creates an unbalanced side force component of the large wing lift

force which causes the aircraft's flight path to curve. (Airplanes turn because of banking created by the ailerons, not because of a rudder input. The ailerons work by changing the effective shape of the airfoil of the outer portion of the wing. As described on the shape effects slide, changing the angle of deflection at the rear of an airfoil will change the amount of lift generated by the foil. With greater downward deflection, the lift will increase in the upward direction. Notice on this slide that the aileron on the left wing, as viewed from the rear of the aircraft, is deflected down. The aileron on the right wing is deflected up. Therefore, the lift on the left wing is increased, while the lift on the right wing is decreased. For both wings, the lift force (Fr or Fl) of the wing section through the aileron is applied at the aerodynamic center of the section which is some distance (L) from the aircraft center of gravity. This creates a torque T=F*L about the center of gravity. If the forces (and distances) are equal there is no net torque on the aircraft. But if the forces are unequal, there is a net torque and the aircraft rotates about its center of gravity. For the conditions shown in the figure, the resulting motion will roll the aircraft to the right (clockwise) as viewed from the rear. If the pilot reverses the aileron deflections (right aileron down, left aileron up) the aircraft will roll in the opposite direction. We have chosen to name the left wing and right wing based on a view from the back of the aircraft towards the nose, because that is the direction in which the pilot is looking.

Rudder :

At the rear of the fuselage of most aircraft one finds a vertical stabilizer and a rudder. The stabilizer is a fixed wing section whose job is to provide stability for the aircraft, to keep it flying

straight. The vertical stabilizer prevents side-to-side, or yawing, motion of the aircraft nose. The rudder is the small moving section at the rear of the stabilizer that is attached to the fixed sections by hinges. Because the rudder moves, it varies the amount of force generated by the tail surface and is used to generate and control the yawing motion of the aircraft. This slide shows what happens when the pilot deflects the rudder, a hinged section at the rear of the vertical stabilizer. The rudder is used to control the position of the nose of the aircraft. Interestingly, it is NOT used to turn the aircraft in flight. Aircraft turns are caused by banking the aircraft to one side using either ailerons or spoilers. The banking creates an unbalanced side force component of the large wing lift force which causes the aircraft's flight path to curve. The rudder input insures that the aircraft is properly aligned to the curved flight path during the maneuver. Otherwise, the aircraft would encounter additional drag or even a possible adverse yaw condition in which, due to increased drag from the control surfaces, the nose would move farther off the flight path. The rudder works by changing the effective shape of the airfoil of the vertical stabilizer. As described on the shape effects slide, changing the angle of deflection at the rear of an airfoil will change the amount of lift generated by the foil. With increased deflection, the lift will increase in the opposite direction. The rudder and vertical stabilizer are mounted so that they will produce forces from side to side, not up and down. The side force (F) is applied through the center of pressure of the vertical stabilizer which is some distance (L) from the aircraft center of gravity. This creates a torque T=F*L on the aircraft and the aircraft rotates about its center of gravity. With greater rudder deflection to the left as viewed from the back of the aircraft, the force increases to the right. If the pilot reverses the rudder deflection to the right, the aircraft will yaw in the opposite direction. We have chosen to base the deflections on a view from the back of the aircraft towards the nose, because that is the direction in which the pilot is looking.

Spoilers :

Spoilers are small, hinged plates on the top portion of wings. Spoilers can be used to slow an aircraft, or to make an aircraft descend, if they are deployed on both wings. Spoilers can also be used to generate a rolling motion for an aircraft, if they are deployed on only one wing. This slide shows what happens when the pilot only deflects the spoiler on the right wing. Spoilers Deployed on Both Wings When the pilot activates the spoilers, the plates flip up into the air stream. The flow over the wing is disturbed by the spoiler, the drag of the wing is increased, and the lift is decreased. Spoilers can be used to "dump" lift and make the airplane descend; or they can be used to slow the airplane down as it prepares to land. When the airplane lands on the runway, the pilot usually brings up the spoilers to kill the lift, keep the plane on the ground, and make the brakes work more efficiently. The friction force between the tires and the runway depends on the "normal" force, which is the weight minus the lift. The lower the lift, the better the brakes work. The additional drag of the spoilers also slows the plane down

Flaps & Slats :

The amount of lift generated by a wing depends on the shape of the airfoil, the wing area, and the aircraft velocity. During takeoff and landing the airplane's velocity is relatively low. To keep the lift high (to avoid objects on the ground!), airplane designers try to increase the wing area and change the airfoil shape by putting some moving parts on the wings' leading and trailing edges. The part on the leading edge is called a slat, while the part on the trailing edge is called a flap. The flaps and

slats move along metal tracks built into the wings. Moving the flaps aft (toward the tail) and the slats forward increases the wing area. Pivoting the leading edge of the slat and the trailing edge of the flap downward increases the effective camber of the airfoil, which increases the lift. In addition, the large aft-projected area of the flap increases the drag of the aircraft. This helps the airplane slow down for landing.

Stabilator:

At the rear of the fuselage of most aircraft one finds a horizontal stabilizer and an elevator to provide stability and control of the up-and-down, or pitching, motion of the aircraft nose. On many fighter planes, in order to meet their high maneuvering requirements, the stabilizer and elevator are combined into one large moving surface called a stabilator. Because the stabilator moves, it varies the amount of force generated by the tail surface and is used to generate and control the pitching motion of the aircraft. There is usually a stabilator on each side of the fuselage and they work in pairs; when the right stabilator goes up, the left stabilator also goes up. This slide shows what happens when the pilot deflects the stabilators. The stabilator is used to control the position of the nose of the aircraft and the angle of attack of the wing. Changing the inclination of the wing to the local flight path changes the amount of lift which the wing generates. This, in turn, causes the aircraft to climb or dive. During take off the stabilators are used to bring the nose of the aircraft up to begin the climb out. During a banked turn, stabilator inputs can increase the lift and cause a tighter turn. That is why stabilator performance is so important for fighter aircraft.

The stabilators work by changing the angle of attack of the horizontal stabilizer. As described on the inclination effects slide, changing the angle of attack of an airfoil changes the amount of lift generated by the foil. With greater downward deflection of the leading edge, lift increases in the downward direction. With greater upward deflection, lift increases in the upward direction. The lift force (F) is applied at the center of pressure of the the stabilator which is some distance (L) from the aircraft center of gravity. This creates a torque T=F*L on the aircraft and the aircraft rotates about its center of gravity. The pilot can use this ability to make the airplane loop or dive.

Aircraft Motions
The motion of an aircraft is particularly complex because the rotations and translations are coupled together; a rotation affects the magnitude and direction of the forces which affect translations. To understand and describe the motion of an aircraft, we usually try to break down the complex problem into a series of easier problems. We can, for instance, assume that the aircraft translates from one point to another as if all the mass of the aircraft were collected into a single point called the center of gravity. We can describe the motion of the center of gravity by using Newton's laws of motion. There are four forces acting on the aircraft; the lift, drag, thrust, and weight. Depending on the relative magnitudes and directions of these forces, the aircraft will climb (increase in altitude), dive (decrease in altitude), or bank (roll to one side). The magnitude of the aerodynamic forces depends on the attitude of the aircraft during the translations. The attitude depends on the rotations about the center of gravity when the aircraft is trimmed

Aircraft Rotations :

Since we live in a three dimensional world, it is necessary to control the attitude or orientation of a flying aircraft in all three dimensions. In flight, any aircraft will rotate about its center of gravity, a point which is the average location of the mass of the aircraft. We can define a three dimensional coordinate system through the center of gravity with each axis of this coordinate system perpendicular to the other two axes. We can then define the orientation of the aircraft by the amount of rotation of the parts of the aircraft along these principal axes. The yaw axis is defined to be perpendicular to the plane of the wings with its origin at the center of gravity and directed towards the bottom of the aircraft. A yaw motion is a movement of the nose of the aircraft from side to side. The pitch axis is perpendicular to the yaw axis and is parallel to the plane of the wings with its origin at the center of gravity and directed towards the

right wing tip. A pitch motion is an up or down movement of the nose of the aircraft. The roll axis is perpendicular to the other two axes with its origin at the center of gravity, and is directed towards the nose of the aircraft. A rolling motion is an up and down movement of the wing tips of the aircraft. In flight, the control surfaces of an aircraft produce aerodynamic forces. These forces are applied at the center of pressure of the control surfaces which are some distance from the aircraft cg and produce torques (or moments) about the principal axes. The torques cause the aircraft to rotate. The elevators produce a pitching moment, the rudder produces a yawing moment, and the ailerons produce a rolling moment. The ability to vary the amount of the force and the moment allows the pilot to maneuver or to trim the aircraft. The first aircraft to demonstrate active control about all three axes was the Wright brothers' 1902 glider.

Banking Turns :

A fundamental aircraft motion is a banking turn. This maneuver is used to change the aircraft heading. The turn is initiated by using the ailerons or spoilers to roll, or bank, the aircraft to one side. On the figure, the airliner is banked to the right by lowering the left aileron and raising the right aileron. As the aircraft is rolled, the lift vector is tilted in the direction of the roll. We can break the lift vector into two components. One component is vertical and opposed to the weight which is always directed towards the center of the earth. The other component is an unopposed side force which is in the direction of the roll, and perpendicular to the flight path.

As long as the aircraft is banked, the side force is a constant, unopposed force on the aircraft. The resulting motion of the center of gravity of the aircraft is a circular arc. When the wings are brought level by an opposing motion of the ailerons, the side force is eliminated and the aircraft continues to fly in a straight line along a new heading. Notice that the rudder is not used to turn the aircraft. The aircraft is turned through the action of the side component of the lift force. The rudder is used during the turn to coordinate the turn, i.e. to keep the nose of the aircraft pointed along the flight path. If the rudder is not used, one can encounter an adverse yaw in which the drag on the outer wing pulls the aircraft nose away from the flight path.

Aircraft Translations:

Simplified Aircraft Motions :

In an ideal situation, an airplane could sustain a constant speed and level flight in which the weight would be balanced by the lift, and the drag would be balanced by the thrust. The closest example of this condition is a cruising airliner. While the weight decreases due to fuel burned, the change is very small relative to the total aircraft weight. n this situation, the aircraft will maintain a constant cruise velocity as described by Newton's first law of motion.

If the forces become unbalanced, the aircraft will move in the direction of the greater force. We can compute the acceleration which the aircraft will experience from Newton's second law of motion F=m*a Where a is the acceleration, m is the mass of the aircraft, and F is the net force acting on the aircraft

The net force is the difference between the opposing forces; lift minus weight, or thrust minus drag. With this information, we can solve for the resulting motion of the aircraft. If the weight is decreased while the lift is held constant, the airplane will rise: Lift > Weight - Aircraft Rises If the lift is decreased while the weight is constant, the plane will fall: Weight > Lift - Aircraft Falls Similarly, increasing the thrust while the drag is constant will cause the plane to accelerate: Thrust > Drag - Aircraft Accelerates And increasing the drag at a constant thrust will cause the plane to slow down: Drag > Thrust - Aircraft Slows

Speed Regimes :
As an aircraft moves through the air, the air molecules near the aircraft are disturbed and move around the aircraft. If the aircraft passes at a low speed, typically less than 250 mph, the density of the air remains constant. But for higher speeds, some of the energy of the aircraft goes into compressing the air and locally changing the density of the air. This compressibility effect alters the amount of resulting force on the aircraft. The effect becomes more important as speed increases. Near and beyond the speed of sound, about 330 m/s or 760 mph, small disturbances in the flow are transmitted to other locations isentropically or with constant entropy. But a sharp disturbance generates a shock wave that affects both the lift and drag of an aircraft.

Mach Number (M) :


The ratio of the speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound in the gas determines the magnitude of many of the compressibility effects. Because of the importance of this speed ratio, aerodynamicists have designated it with a special parameter called the Mach number in honor of Ernst Mach, a late 19th century physicist who studied gas dynamics. The Mach number M allows us to define flight regimes in which compressibility effects vary.

Subsonic Speed:

Subsonic conditions occur for Mach numbers less than one, M < 1 . For the lowest subsonic conditions, compressibility can be ignored

Transonic Speed :

As the speed of the object approaches the speed of sound, the flight Mach number is nearly equal to one, M = 1, and the flow is said to be transonic. At some places on the object, the local speed exceeds the speed of sound. Compressibility effects are most important in transonic flows and lead to the early belief in a sound barrier. Flight faster than sound was thought to be impossible. In fact, the sound barrier was only an increase in the drag near sonic conditions because of compressibility effects. Because of the high drag associated with compressibility effects, aircraft do not cruise near Mach 1.

Supersonic Speed:

Low Supersonic conditions occur for Mach numbers greater than one, 1 < M < 3. Compressibility effects are important for supersonic aircraft, and shock waves are generated by the surface of the object. For high supersonic speeds, 3 < M < 5, aerodynamic heating also becomes very important for aircraft design.

Hypersonic Speed :

For speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, M > 5, the flow is said to be hypersonic. At these speeds, some of the energy of the object now goes into exciting the chemical bonds which hold together the nitrogen and oxygen molecules of the air. At hypersonic speeds, the chemistry of the air must be considered when determining forces on the object.

Re-Entry (High Hypersonic Speed ):

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As a spacecraft re-enters the earth's atmosphere, it is traveling very much faster than the speed of sound. The aircraft is said to be hypersonic. Typical low earth orbit re-entry speeds are near 17,500 mph and the Mach number M is nearly twenty five, M < 25. The chief characteristic of reentry aerodynamics is that the temperature of the flow is so great that the chemical bonds of the diatomic molecules of the air are broken. The molecules break apart producing an electrically charged plasma around the aircraft. The air density is very low because re-entry occurs many miles above the earth's surface. Strong shock waves are generated on the lower surface of the spacecraft. The only manned aircraft to currently fly in this regime are the American Space Shuttle, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. The figure shows the Shuttle after it has passed through the re-entry regime. The Shuttle uses a rocket propulsion system to get into orbit, but during re-entry the aircraft is actually an un-powered glider. Small steering rockets are used for maneuvering early in the re-entry because the low density of the air at altitudes above 50 miles makes aerodynamic surfaces ineffective. The heat is so great during re-

entry that a special thermal protection system is used to keep the spacecraft intact. On the Shuttle, special silicon tiles are placed on the aluminum skin to insulate the skin. On the leading edge of the wings, carbon-cabon composite material is used to withstand the heat. The high forces and high heat dictate that the Shuttle has short, blunt wings. The Shuttle flies at a high angle of attack during re-entry to generate drag to dissipate speed. It executes some hypersonic split-S maneuvers to kill off speed during re-entry. The lift of the wings is only important in the final flare maneuver at touchdown. The Soyuz, Shenzhou, and all of the early Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury spacecraft used a thermal protection system that is different than the Space Shuttle. Each of these spacecraft use an ablative, or "burning", heat sheild. The heat sheild is made of special ceramic materials and is designed to slowly burn away as it encounters the high temperature plasma flow aft of the bow shock wave. The change of phase from solid to liquid to gas and the convection of the flow away from the spacecraft help to protect the astronauts from the heat of re-entry.

For supersonic and hypersonic flows, small disturbances are transmitted downstream within a cone. The trigonometric sine of the cone angle b is equal to the inverse of the Mach number M and the angle is therefore called the Mach angle. sin(b) = 1 / M There is no upstream influence in a supersonic or hypersonic flow; disturbances are only transmitted downstream. The Mach number depends on the speed of sound in the gas and the speed of sound depends on the type of gas and the temperature of the gas. The speed of sound varies from planet to planet. On Earth, the atmosphere is composed of mostly diatomic nitrogen and oxygen, and the temperature depends on the altitude in a rather complex way. Scientists and engineers have created a mathematical model of the atmosphere to help them account for the changing effects of temperature with altitude. Mars also has an atmosphere composed of mostly carbon dioxide. There is a similar mathematical model of the Martian atmosphere.

Some Important Terms In Aeronautics :


* Bernoullis Equation :

*Relative Velocities ( Aircraft Reference):

One of the most confusing concepts for young aerodynamicists is the relative velocity between objects. Aerodynamic forces are generated by an object moving through the air. Aerodynamic lift, for instance, depends on the square of the velocity between the object and the air. Things get confusing because not only can the object be moved through the air, but the air itself can move. To properly define the velocity, it is necessary to pick a fixed reference point and measure velocities relative to the fixed point. In this slide, the reference point is fixed to the airplane, but it could just as easily be fixed to the ground. For a reference point picked on the aircraft, the air moves relative to the reference point at the airspeed. The airspeed is a vector quantity and has both a magnitude and a direction. A positive velocity is defined to be toward the tail of the aircraft. The airspeed can be directly measured on the aircraft by use of a pitot tube. For a reference point picked on the aircraft, the ground moves aft at some velocity called the ground speed. Ground speed is also a vector quantity so a comparison with the airspeed must be done according to the rules of vector comparisons. The air in which the aircraft flies can move in all three directions. In this figure, we are only considering velocities along the aircraft's flight path and we are neglecting cross winds which occur perpendicular to the flight path but parallel to the ground and updrafts and downdrafts which occur perpendicular to the ground. From the aircraft, we can not directly measure the wind speed, but must compute the wind speed from the ground speed and airspeed. Wind speed is the vector difference between the airspeed and the ground speed. Wind speed = Airspeed - Ground Speed On a perfectly still day the wind speed is zero and the airspeed is equal to the ground speed. If the measured airspeed is greater than the observed ground speed, the wind speed is positive. Suppose we had an airplane which could take off on a windless day at 100 mph (lift off airspeed is 100 mph). Now suppose we had a day in which the wind was blowing 20 mph towards the West. If the airplane takes off going East, it experiences a 20 mph headwind (wind in your face). Since a positive velocity is defined to be toward the tail, a headwind will be a positive wind speed. While the plane is sitting still on the runway, it has a ground speed of 0 and an airspeed of 20 mph. Wind speed (20) = Airspeed (20) - Ground Speed (0) At lift off, the airspeed is 100 mph, the wind speed is 20 mph and the ground speed will be 80 mph Wind speed (20) = Airspeed (100) - Ground Speed (80) If the plane took off to the West it would have a 20 mph tail wind (wind at your back). This gives a negative wind speed. At lift off, the airspeed is still 100 mph, the wind speed is -20 mph and the ground speed will now be 120 mph. Wind speed (-20) = Airspeed (100) - Ground Speed (120) So the aircraft will have to travel faster (and farther) along the ground to achieve lift off conditions with the wind at it's back.

Comparing this example with the ground reference, we see that the magnitudes of all the velocities are the same, but the sign of the wind speed has changed with the reference velocity direction. For a ground reference, we chose a positive wind velocity to be in the same direction as the aircraft (towards the nose). For an aircraft reference, we choose a positive wind velocity to be towards the tail.

*Centre Of Pressure:

As an object moves through a fluid, the velocity of the fluid varies around the surface of the object. The variation of velocity produces a variation of pressure on the surface of the object as shown by the the thin red lines on the figure. Integrating the pressure times the surface area around the body determines the aerodynamic force on the object. We can consider this single force to act through the average location of the pressure on the surface of the object. We call the average location of the pressure variation the center of pressure in the same way that we call the average location of the weight of an object the center of gravity. The aerodynamic force can then be resolved into two components, lift and drag, which act through the center of pressure in flight. Determining the center of pressure is very important for any flying object. To trim an airplane, or to provide stability for a model rocket or a kite, it is necessary to know the location of the center of pressure of the entire aircraft. How do engineers determine the location of the center of pressure for an aircraft which they are designing? In general, determining the center of pressure (cp) is a very complicated procedure because the pressure changes around the object. Determining the center of pressure requires the use of

calculus and a knowledge of the pressure distribution around the body. We can characterize the pressure variation around the surface as a function p(x) which indicates that the pressure depends on the distance x from a reference line usually taken as the leading edge of the object. If we can determine the form of the function, there are methods to perform a calculus integration of the equation. We will use the symbols "S[ ]dx" to denote the integration of a continuous function. Then the center of pressure can be determined from: cp = (S[x * p(x)]dx) / (S[p(x)]dx) If we don't know the actual functional form, we can numerically integrate the equation using a spreadsheet by dividing the distance into a number of small distance segments and determining the average value of the pressure over that small segment. Taking the sum of the average value times the distance timesthe distance segment divided by the sum of the average value times the distance segment will produce the center of pressure. There are several important problems to consider when determining the center of pressure for an airfoil. As we change angle of attack, the pressure at every point on the airfoil changes. And, therefore, the location of the center of pressure changes as well. The movement of the center of pressure caused a major problem for early airfoil designers because the amount (and sometimes the direction) of the movement was different for different designs. In general, the pressure variation around the airfoil also imparts a torque, or "twisting force", to the airfoil. If a flying airfoil is not restrained in some way it will flip as it moves through the air. (As a further complication, the center of pressure also moves because of viscosity and compressibility effects on the flow field. But let's save that discussion for another page.) To resolve some of these design problems, aeronautical engineers prefer to characterize the forces on an airfoil by the aerodynamic force, describedabove, coupled with an aerodynamic moment to account for the torque. It was found both experimentally and analytically that, if the aerodynamic force is applied at a location 1/4 chord back from the leading edge on most low speed airfoils, the magnitude of the aerodynamic moment remains nearly constant with angle of attack. Engineers call the location where the aerodynamic moment remains constant the aerodynamic center of the airfoil. Using the aerodynamic center as the location where the aerodynamic force is applied eliminates the problem of the movement of the center of pressure with angle of attack in aerodynamic analysis. (For supersonic airfoils, the aerodynamic center is nearer the 1/2 chord location.) When computing the trim of an aircraft, model rocket, or kite, we usually apply the aerodynamic forces at the aerodynamic center of airfoils and compute the center of pressure of the vehicle as an area-weighted average of the centers of the components.

*Centre Of Gravity ( Aircraft Application) :


An airplane in flight can be maneuvered by the pilot using the aerodynamic control surfaces; the elevator, rudder, or ailerons. As the control surfaces change the amount of force that each surface generates, the aircraft rotates about a point called the center of gravity. The center of gravity is the average location of the weight of the aircraft. The weight is actually distributed throughout the airplane, and for some problems it is important to know the distribution. But for total aircraft maneuvering, we need to be concerned with only the total weight and the location of the center of gravity. How do engineers determine the location of the center of gravity for an airplane which they are designing?

An airplane is a combination of many parts; the wings, engines, fuselage, and tail, plus the payload and the fuel. Each part has a weight associated with it which the engineer can estimate, or calculate, using Newton's weight equation: w=m*g where w is the weight, m is the mass, and g is the gravitational constant which is 32.2 ft/square sec in English units and 9.8 meters/square sec in metric units. To determine the center of gravity cg, we choose a reference location, or reference line. The cg is determined relative to this reference location. The total weight of the aircraft is simply the sum of all the individual weights of the components. Since the center of gravity is an average location of the weight, we can say that the weight of the entire aircraft W times the location cg of the center of gravity is equal to the sum of the weight w of each component times the distance d of that component from the reference location: W * cg = [w * d](fuselage) + [w * d](wing) + [w * d](engines) + ... The center of gravity is the mass-weighted average of the component locations. We can generalize the technique discussed above. If we had a total of "n" discrete components, the center of gravity cg of the aircraft times the weight W of the aircraft would be the sum of the individual i component weight times the distance d from the reference line (w * d) with the index i going from 1 to n. Mathematicians use the greek letter sigma to denote this addition. (Sigma is a zig-zag symbol with the index designation being placed below the bottom bar, the total number of additions placed over the top bar, and the variable to be summed placed to the right of the sigma with each component designated by the index.)

W * cg = SUM(i=1 to i=n) [w * d]i This equation says that the center of gravity times the sum of "n" parts' weight is equal to the sum of "n" parts' weight times their distance. The discrete equation works for "n" discrete parts.

*Glide Angle :

A glider is a special kind of aircraft that has no engine. Paper airplanes are the most obvious example, but gliders come in a wide range of sizes. Toy gliders, made of balsa wood or styrofoam, are an excellent way for students to study the basics of aerodynamics. Hang-gliders are piloted aircraft that are launched by leaping off the side of a hill. The Wright brothers perfected the design of the first airplane and gained piloting experience through a series of glider flights from 1900 to 1903.More sophisticated gliders are launched by ground based catapults, or are towed aloft by a powered aircraft then cut free to glide for hours over many miles. If a glider is in a steady (constant velocity and no acceleration) descent, it loses altitude as it travels. The glider's flight path is a simple straight line, shown as the inclined red line in the figure. The flight path intersects the ground at an angle a called the glide angle. If we know the distance flown d and the altitude change h, we can calculate the glide angle using trigonometry: tan(a) = h / d where tan is the trigonometric tangent function. The ratio of the change in altitude h to the change in distance d is often called the glide ratio.

If the glider is flown at a specified glide angle, the trigonometric equation can be solved to determine how far the glider can fly for a given change in altitude. d = h / tan(a) Notice that if the glide angle is small, the tan(a) is a small number, and the aircraft can fly a long distance for a small change in altitude. Conversely, if the glide is large, the tan(a) is a large number, and the aircraft can travel only a short distance for a given change in altitude. We can think of the glide angle as a measure of the flying efficiency of the glider. On another page, we will show that the glide angle is inversely related to the lift to drag ratio. The higher the lift to drag ratio, the smaller the glide angle, and the farther an aircraft can fly.

Aerodynamic Forces On An Airplane :

Weight Weight is a force that is always directed toward the center of the earth. The magnitude of the weight depends on the mass of all the airplane parts, plus the amount of fuel, plus any payload on board (people, baggage, freight, etc.). The weight is distributed throughout the airplane. But we can often think of it as collected and acting through a single point called the center of gravity. In flight, the airplane rotates about the center of gravity. Flying encompasses two major problems; overcoming the weight of an object by some opposing force, and controlling the object in flight. Both of these problems are related to the object's weight and the location of the center of gravity. During a flight, an airplane's weight constantly changes as the aircraft consumes fuel. The distribution of the weight and the center of gravity also changes. So the pilot must constantly adjust the controls to keep the airplane balanced, or trimmed. Lift To overcome the weight force, airplanes generate an opposing force called lift. Lift is generated by the motion of the airplane through the air and is an aerodynamic force. "Aero" stands for the air, and "dynamic" denotes motion. Lift is directed perpendicular to the flight direction. The magnitude of the lift depends on several factors including the shape, size, and velocity of the aircraft. As with weight, each part of the aircraft contributes to the aircraft lift force. Most of the lift is generated by the wings. Aircraft lift acts through a single point called the center of pressure.

The center of pressure is defined just like the center of gravity, but using the pressure distribution around the body instead of the weight distribution. The distribution of lift around the aircraft is important for solving the control problem. Aerodynamic surfaces are used to control the aircraft in roll, pitch, and yaw. Drag As the airplane moves through the air, there is another aerodynamic force present. The air resists the motion of the aircraft and the resistance force is called drag. Drag is directed along and opposed to the flight direction. Like lift, there are many factors that affect the magnitude of the drag force including the shape of the aircraft, the "stickiness" of the air, and the velocity of the aircraft. Like lift, we collect all of the individual components' drags and combine them into a single aircraft drag magnitude. And like lift, drag acts through the aircraft center of pressure. Thrust To overcome drag, airplanes use a propulsion system to generate a force called thrust. The direction of the thrust force depends on how the engines are attached to the aircraft. In the figure shown above, two turbine engines are located under the wings, parallel to the body, with thrust acting along the body centerline. On some aircraft, such as the Harrier, the thrust direction can be varied to help the airplane take off in a very short distance. The magnitude of the thrust depends on many factors associated with the propulsion system including the type of engine, the number of engines, and the throttle setting. For jet engines, it is often confusing to remember that aircraft thrust is a reaction to the hot gas rushing out of the nozzle. The hot gas goes out the back, but the thrust pushes towards the front. Action <--> reaction is explained by Newton's Third Law of Motion. The motion of the airplane through the air depends on the relative strength and direction of the forces shown above. If the forces are balanced, the aircraft cruises at constant velocity. If the forces are unbalanced, the aircraft accelerates in the direction of the largest force.

Lift To Drag Ratio :


Because lift and drag are both aerodynamic forces, the ratio of lift to drag is an indication of the aerodynamic efficiency of the airplane. Aerodynamicists call the lift to drag ratio the L/D ratio, pronounced "L over D ratio." An airplane has a high L/D ratio if it produces a large amount of lift or a small amount of drag. Under cruise conditions lift is equal to weight. A high lift aircraft can carry a large payload. Under cruise conditions thrust is equal to drag. A low drag aircraft requires low thrust. Thrust is produced by burning a fuel and a low thrust aircraft requires small amounts of fuel be burned. As discussed on the maximum flight time page, low fuel usage allows an aircraft to stay aloft for a long time, and that means the aircraft can fly long range missions. So an aircraft with a high L/D ratio can carry a large payload, for a long time, over a long distance. For glider aircraft with no engines, a high L/D ratio again produces a long range aircraft by reducing the steady state glide angle at which the glider descends. As shown in the middle of the slide, the L/D ratio is also equal to the ratio of the lift and drag coefficients. The lift equation indicates that the lift L is equal to one half the air density r times the square of the velocity V times the wing area A times the lift coefficient Cl:

L = .5 * Cl * r * V^2 * A Similarly, the drag equation relates the aircraft drag D to a drag coefficient Cd: D = .5 * Cd * r * V^2 * A Dividing these two equations give: L/D = Cl/ Cd Lift and drag coefficients are normally determined experimentally using a wind tunnel. But for some simple geometries, they can be determined mathematically.

Thrust To Weight Ratio :


Just as the lift to drag ratio is an efficiency parameter for total aircraft aerodynamics, the thrust to weight ratio is an efficiency factor for total aircraft propulsion. F/W is the thrust to weight ratio and it is directly proportional to the acceleration of the aircraft. An aircraft with a high thrust to weight ratio has high acceleration. For most flight conditions, an aircraft with a high thrust to weight ratio will also have a high value of excess thrust. High excess thrust results in a high rate of climb. If the thrust to weight ratio is greater than one and the drag is small, the aircraft can accelerate straight up like a rocket. Similarly, rockets must develop thrust greater than the weight of the rocket in order to lift off .

NOTE: We must be very careful when using data concerning the thrust to weight ratio. Because airframes and engines are produced by different manufacturers and the same engine can go into different airframes, the thrust to weight ratio of the engine alone is often described in the literature. High thrust to weight is an indication of the thrust efficiency of the engine. But when determining aircraft performance, the important factor is the thrust to weight of the aircraft, not just the engine alone. Another problem occurs because the thrust of an engine decreases with altitude while the weight remains constant. Thrust to weight ratios for engines are often quoted at sea level static conditions, which give the maximum value that the engine will produce.

Airplane Cruise Balanced Forces :


In an ideal situation, the forces acting on an aircraft in flight can produce no net external force. In this situation the lift is equal to the weight, and the thrust is equal to the drag. The closest example of this condition is a cruising airliner. While the weight decreases due to fuel burned, the change is very small relative to the total aircraft weight. The aircraft maintains a constant airspeed called the cruise velocity. If we take into account the relative velocity of the wind, we can determine the ground speed of a cruising aircraft. The ground speed is equal to the airspeed plus the wind speed using vector addition. The motion of the aircraft is a pure translation. With a constant ground speed it is relatively easy to determine the aircraft range, the distance the airplane can fly with a given load of fuel. If the pilot changes the throttle setting, or increases the wing angle of attack, the forces become unbalanced. The aircraft will move in the direction of the greater force, and we can compute acceleration of the aircraft from Newton's second law of motion.

Forces In A Climb :
On this slide, we consider the relations of the forces during a gradual climb. We have drawn a vertical and horizontal axis on our aircraft through the center of gravity. The flight path is shown as a red line inclined to the horizontal at angle c. The lift and drag are aerodynamic forces that are defined relative to the flight path. The lift is perpendicular to the flight path and the drag is

along the flight path. The thrust of the aircraft is also usually aligned with the flight path. Some modern fighter aircraft can change the angle of the thrust, but we are going to assume that the thrust is along the flight path direction. The weight of an airplane is always directed towards the center of the earth and is, therefore, along the vertical axis. Forces are vector quantities. We can write two component equations for the motion of the aircraft based on Newton's second law of motion and the rules of vector algebra. One equation gives the the vertical acceleration av, and the other gives the horiozontal acceleration ah in terms of the components of the forces and the mass m of the aircraft. If we denote the thrust by the symbol F, the lift by L, the drag by D, and the weight by W, the vertical component equation is: F * sin(c) - D * sin(c) + L * cos(c) - W = m * av where sin and cos are the trigonometric sine and cosine functions. Similarly, the horizontal component equation is: F * cos(c) - D * cos(c) - L * sin(c) = m * ah We can simplify the equations a little by using the definition of excess thrust Fex: Fex = F - D The resulting equations of motion are: Vertical: Horizontal: Fex * sin(c) + L * cos(c) - W = m * av Fex * cos(c) - L * sin(c) = m * ah

For small climb angles, the cos(c) is nearly 1.0 and the sin(c) is nearly zero. The equations then reduce to: Vertical: Horizontal: L - W = m * av F - D = m * ah

The resulting simplified motion is described on another slide. The horizontal equation is integrated on another slide to give the velocity and location as functions of time. For more moderate angles, high excess thrust can provide an important contribution to the vertical acceleration. The next time you visit an airport, notice the high climb angles used by modern airliners. This flight path is possible because modern turbine engines develop high excess thrust at takeoff. The pilot climbs sharply to get the aircraft as high as possible within the confines of the airport which produces the least noise for homes near the airport.

Trimmed Aircraft :
As described on the forces slide, the aircraft lift is the sum of the lift of all of the parts of the airplane and acts through the aircraft center of pressure. Each part of the aircraft has its own lift component and its own center of pressure. The major part of the lift comes from the wings, but the horizontal stabilizer and elevator also produce lift which can be varied to maneuver the aircraft.

The average location of the weight of the aircraft is the center of gravity (cg). Any force acting at some distance from the cg produces a torque about the cg. Torque is defined to be the product of the force times the distance. A torque is a "twisting force" that produces rotations of an object. In flight, during maneuvers, an airplane rotates about its cg. But when the aircraft is not maneuvering, we want the rotation about the cg to be zero. When there is no rotation about the cg the aircraft is said to be trimmed.

On most aircraft, the center of gravity of the airplane is located near the center of pressure of the wing. If the center of presure of the wing is aft of the center of gravity, its lift produces a counterclockwise rotation about the cg. The center of pressure for the elevator is aft of the center of gravity for the airliner shown in the figure. A positive lift force from the tail produces a counterclockwise rotation about the cg. To trim the aircraft it is necessary to balance the torques produced by the wing and the tail. But since both rotations are counter-clockwise, it is impossible to balance the two rotations to produce no rotation. However, if the tail lift is negative it then produces a clockwise rotation about the cg which can balance the wing rotation. Let us look carefully at the torques produced by the wing and the tail. The torque from the wing TW is equal to the lift of the wing W times the distance from the cg to the center of pressure of the wing dw. TW = W * dw The torque from the tail TT is equal to the lift of the tail T times the distance from the cg to the center of pressure of the tail dt. The lift of the wing and the lift of the tail are both forces and forces are vector quantities which have both a magnitude and a direction. We must include a minus sign on the lift of the tail because the direction of this force is negative.

TT = -T * dt In trimmed flight, these two torques are equal: TW = TT W * dw = -T * dt W * dw + T * dt = 0 The torque equation, as written here, is a vector equation. All of the quantities are vector quantities having a magnitude and a direction. If the distances are both positive (same side of the center of gravity), then the direction of the tail force must be different than the direction of the wing force to produce no net torque or rotation. However, if the distance to the tail were negative, then the lift of the of the tail could be positive and there would be no net torque. A negative distance to the tail would imply that the tail is on the front of the aircraft, ahead of the center of gravity. A tail at the front of the aircraft is called a canard and was the configuration first used by the Wright brothers.

The total lift of the aircraft is the vector sum of the wing lift and the tail lift. For the airliner, the total lift is less than the wing lift; for the Wright brothers, the total lift is greater than the wing lift. The added lift was important for the Wright brothers because their aircraft had a very small engine and flew at low speeds (35mph). Since lift depends on the square of the velocity, it is hard to generate enough lift for flight at such low speeds.

Factors Affecting Aerodynamic Forces :


Effect of Momentum on Aerodynamic Forces :

Lift is created by deflecting a flow of air, and drag is generated on a body in a wide variety of ways. From Newton's second law of motion, the aerodynamic force F on the body is directly related to the change in momentum of the fluid with time t. The fluid momentum is equal to the mass m times the velocity V of the fluid. F = d (m * V) / dt F = constant * V * m / t Since the air moves, defining the mass is tricky. If the mass of fluid were brought to a halt, it would occupy some volume in space. We can define the density (r) of the fluid to be the mass divided by the volume v. r=m/v Since the fluid is moving, we must determine the mass in terms of the mass flow rate. The mass flow rate is the amount of mass passing a given point during some time interval t and its units are mass/time. We can relate the mass flow rate to the density mathematically. The mass flow rate mdot is equal to the density times the velocity times the area A through which the mass passes. mdot = m / t = r * V * A

With knowledge of the mass flow rate, we can express the aerodynamic force as equal to the mass flow rate times the velocity. F = constant * V * r * V * A A quick units check: mass * length / time^2 = constant * length/time * mass/length^3 * length/time * length^2 mass * length / time^2 = mass * length/time^2 Combining the velocity dependence and absorbing the area into the constant, we find: F = constant * r * V^2 The aerodynamic force equals a constant times the density times the velocity squared. The dynamic pressure of a moving flow is equal to one half of the density times the velocity squared. The aerodynamic force is directly proportional to the dynamic pressure of the flow. Effect of Velocity on Aerodynamic Forces :

The lift and drag depend on the square of the velocity.

The velocity used in the lift and drag equations is the relative velocity between an object and the flow. Since the aerodynamic force depends on the square of the velocity, doubling the velocity will quadruple the lift and drag. The velocity used in the aerodynamic equation is the relative velocity between an object and the flow. The aerodynamic force depends on the square of the velocity. Doubling the velocity quadruples the force. The dependence of lift and drag on the square of the velocity has been known for more than a hundred years. The Wright brothers used this information in the design of their first aircraft. Effect of Air Density on Aerodynamic Forces

The aerodynamic force depends linearly on the density of the air. Halving the density halves the force. As altitude increases, the air density decreases. This explains why airplanes have a flight ceiling, an altitude above which it cannot fly. As an airplane ascends, a point is reached where there is not enough air mass to generate enough lift to overcome the airplane's weight. The relation between altitude and density is a fairly complex exponential.

Lift Basics :
How It Is Generated :

Lift can be generated by a wide variety of objects, including airplane wings, rotating cylinders, spinning balls, and flat plates. Lift is the force that holds an aircraft in the air. Lift can be generated by any part of the airplane, but most of the lift on a normal airliner is generated by the wings. How is lift generated? Force = Mass x Acceleration Lift is a force. From Newton's second law of motion, a force F is produced when a mass m is accelerated a: F=m*a An acceleration is a change in velocity V with a change in time t. F = m * (V1 - V0) / (t1 - t0) We have written this relationship as a difference equation, but it is recognized that the relation is actually a differential from calculus. F = m * dV/dt

The important fact is that a force causes a change in velocity; and, likewise, a change in velocity generates a force. The equation works both ways. A velocity has both a magnitude called the speed and a direction associated with it. Scientists and mathematicians call this a vector quantity. So, to change either the speed or the direction of a flow, you must impose a force. And if either the speed or the direction of a flow is changed, a force is generated. Lift Generated in a Moving Fluid For a body immersed in a moving fluid, the fluid remains in contact with the surface of the body. If the body is shaped, moved, or inclined in such a way as to produce a net deflection or turning of the flow, the local velocity is changed in magnitude, direction, or both. Changing the velocity creates a net force on the body. It is very important to note that the turning of the fluid occurs because the molecules of the fluid stay in contact with the solid body since the molecules are free to move. Any part of the solid body can deflect a flow. Parts facing the oncoming flow are said to be windward, and parts facing away from the flow are said to be leeward. Both windward and leeward parts deflect a flow. Ignoring the leeward deflection leads to a popular incorrect theory of lift. NO FLUID, NO LIFT For lift to be generated, the solid body must be in contact with the fluid: no fluid, no lift. The Space Shuttle does not stay in space because of lift from its wings but because of orbital mechanics related to its speed. Space is nearly a vacuum. Without air, there is no lift generated by the wings. NO MOTION, NO LIFT Lift is generated by the difference in velocity between the solid object and the fluid. There must be motion between the object and the fluid: no motion, no lift. It makes no difference whether the object moves through a static fluid, or the fluid moves past a static solid object. Lift acts perpendicular to the motion. Drag acts in the direction opposed to the motion.

Incorrect theories @ Lift generation:


(a) Equal Transit Theory:

The theory can be labeled the "Longer Path" theory, or the "Equal Transit Time" theory. The theory states that airfoils are shaped with the upper surface longer than the bottom. The air molecules (the little colored balls on the figure) have farther to travel over the top of the airfoil than along the bottom. In order to meet up at the trailing edge, the molecules going over the top of the wing must travel faster than the molecules moving under the wing. Because the upper flow is faster, then, from Bernoulli's equation, the pressure is lower. The difference in pressure across the airfoil produces the lift. What is wrong with this theory: {Lifting airfoils are designed to have the upper surface longer than the bottom.} This is not always correct. The symmetric airfoil in our experiment generates plenty of lift and its upper surface is the same length as the lower surface. Think of a paper airplane. Its airfoil is a flat plate --> top and bottom exactly the same length and shape and yet they fly just fine. This part of the theory probably got started because early airfoils were curved and shaped with a longer distance along the top. Such airfoils do produce a lot of lift and flow turning, but it is the turning that's important, not the distance. There are modern, lowdrag airfoils which produce lift on which the bottom surface is actually longer than the top. This theory also does not explain how airplanes can fly upside-down which happens often at air shows and in air-to-air combat. The longer surface is then on the bottom!

{Air molecules travel faster over the top to meet molecules moving underneath at the trailing edge.} Experiment #1 shows us that the flow over the top of a lifting airfoil does travel faster than the flow beneath the airfoil. But the flow is much faster than the speed required to have the molecules meet up at the trailing edge. Two molecules near each other at the leading edge will not end up next to each other at the trailing edge as shown in Experiment #2. This part of the theory attempts to provide us with a value for the velocity over the top of the airfoil based on the non-physical assumption that the molecules meet at the aft end. We can calculate a velocity based on this assumption, and use Bernoulli's equation to compute the pressure, and perform the pressure-area calculation and the answer we get does not agree with the lift that we measure for a given airfoil. The lift predicted by the "Equal Transit" theory is much less than the observed lift, because the velocity is too low. The actual velocity over the top of an airfoil is much faster than that predicted by the "Longer Path" theory and particles moving over the top arrive at the trailing edge before particles moving under the airfoil. {The upper flow is faster and from Bernoulli's equation the pressure is lower. The difference in pressure across the airfoil produces the lift.} As we have seen in Experiment #1, this part of the theory is correct. In fact, this theory is very appealing because many parts of the theory are correct. In our discussions on pressure-area integration to determine the force on a body immersed in a fluid, we mentioned that if we know the velocity, we can obtain the pressure and determine the force. The problem with the "Equal Transit" theory is that it attempts to provide us with the velocity based on a nonphysical assumption as discussed above.

(b) Skipping Stone Theory :

The theory is based on the idea that lift is the reaction force to air molecules striking the bottom of the airfoil as it moves through the air. Because this is similar to the way in which a flat rock thrown at a shallow angle skips across a body of water, it is called the "Skipping Stone" theory of lift. It is sometimes called a Newtonian theory of lift, since it involves Newton's third law, but to avoid

confusion with the correct Newtonian theory of flow turning, we shall call it the "Skipping Stone" theory. What is wrong with this theory: This theory is concerned with only the interaction of the lower surface of the moving object and the air. It assumes that all of the flow turning (and therefore all the lift) is produced by the lower surface. But as we have seen in our experiment, the upper surface also turns the flow. In fact, when one considers the downwash produced by a lifting airfoil, the upper surface contributes more flow turning than the lower surface. This theory does not predict or explain this effect. Because this theory neglects the action <--> reaction of molecules striking the upper surface, it does not predict the negative lift present in our experiment when the angle of attack is negative. On the top of the airfoil, no vacuum exists. Molecules are still in constant random motion on the upper surface (as well as the lower surface), and these molecules strike the surface and impart momentum to the airfoil as well. The upper airfoil surface doesn't enter into the theory at all. So using this theory, we would expect two airfoils with the same lower surface but very different upper surfaces to give the same lift. We know this doesn't occur in reality. In fact, there are devices on many airliners called spoilers which are small plates on the upper surface, between the leading and trailing edges. They are used to change the lift of the wing to maneuver the aircraft by disrupting the flow over the upper surface. This theory does not predict or explain this effect. If we make lift predictions based on this theory, using a knowledge of air density and the number of molecules in a given volume of air, the predictions are totally inaccurate when compared to actual measurements. The chief problem with the theory is that it neglects the physical properties of the fluid. Lift is created by turning a moving fluid, and all parts of the solid object can deflect the fluid.

(C) Half Venturi Theory:

The theory is based on the idea that the airfoil upper surface is shaped to act as a nozzle which accelerates the flow. Such a nozzle configuration is called a Venturi nozzle and it can be analyzed classically. Considering the conservation of mass, the mass flowing past any point in

the nozzle is a constant; the mass flow rate of a Venturi nozzle is a constant. The mass flow rate m dot is equal to the density r times the velocity V times the flow area A: m dot = r * V * A = constant For a constant density, decreasing the area increases the velocity. Turning to the incorrect airfoil theory, the top of the airfoil is curved, which constricts the flow. Since the area is decreased, the velocity over the top of the foil is increased. Then from Bernoulli's equation, higher velocity produces a lower pressure on the upper surface. The low pressure over the upper surface of the airfoil produces the lift. What is wrong with this theory: The theory is based on an analysis of a Venturi nozzle. But an airfoil is not a Venturi nozzle. There is no phantom surface to produce the other half of the nozzle. In our experiments we've noted that the velocity gradually decreases as you move away from the airfoil eventually approaching the free stream velocity. This is not the velocity found along the centerline of a nozzle which is typically higher than the velocity along the wall. The Venturi analysis cannot predict the lift generated by a flat plate. The leading edge of a flat plate presents no constriction to the flow so there is really no "nozzle" formed. One could argue that a "nozzle" occurs when the angle of the flat plate is negative. But as we have seen in Experiment #2, this produces a negative lift. The velocity actually slows down on the upper surface at a negative angle of attack; it does not speed up as expected from the nozzle model. This theory deals with only the pressure and velocity along the upper surface of the airfoil. It neglects the shape of the lower surface. If this theory were correct, we could have any shape we want for the lower surface, and the lift would be the same. This obviously is not the way it works - the lower surface does contribute to the lift generated by an airfoil. (In fact, one of the other incorrect theories proposed that only the lower surface produces lift!) The part of the theory about Bernoulli's equation and a difference in pressure existing across the airfoil is correct. In fact, this theory is very appealing because there are parts of the theory that are correct. In our discussions on pressure-area integration to determine the force on a body immersed in a fluid, we mentioned that if we knew the velocity, we could obtain the pressure and determine the force. The problem with the "Venturi" theory is that it attempts to provide us with the velocity based on an incorrect assumption (the constriction of the flow produces the velocity field). We can calculate a velocity based on this assumption, and use Bernoulli's equation to compute the pressure, and perform the pressure-area calculation and the answer we get does not agree with the lift that we measure for a given airfoil.

Factors That Affect Lift :

All that is necessary to create lift is to turn a flow of air. An aerodynamic, curved airfoil will turn a flow. But so will a simple flat plate, if it is inclined to the flow. The fuselage of an airplane will also generate lift if it is inclined to the flow. For that matter, an automobile body also turns the flow through which it moves, generating a lift force. Lift is a big problem for NASCAR racing machines and race cars now include spoilers on the roof to kill lift in a spin. Any physical body moving through a fluid can create lift if it produces a net turning of the flow. There are many factors that affect the turning of the flow, which creates lift. We can group these factors into(a) those associated with the object, (b) those associated with the motion of the object through the air, and (c) those associated with the air itself: 1. Object: At the top of the figure, aircraft wing geometry has a large effect on the amount of lift generated. The airfoil shape and wing size will both affect the amount of lift. The ratio of the wing span to the wing area also affects the amount of lift generated by a wing. 2. Motion: To generate lift, we have to move the object through the air. The lift then depends on the velocity of the air and how the object is inclined to the flow. 3. Air: Lift depends on the mass of the flow. The lift also depends in a complex way on two other properties of the air: its viscosity and its compressibility.

How Shape Affects The Lift :

The amount of lift generated by an object depends on how much the flow is turned, which depends on the shape of the object. In general, the lift is a very complex function of the shape. Aerodynamicists model the shape effect by a lift coefficient which is normally determined through wind tunnel testing. This slide shows the flow fields for two different airfoils. The airfoil on the left is a symmetric airfoil; the shapes above and below the white centerline are the same. The airfoil on the right is curved near the trailing edge. The yellow lines on each figure show the streamlines of flow from left to right. The left figure shows no net turning of the flow and produces no lift; the right figure shows a large amount of turning and generates a large amount of lift. The front portions of both airfoils are nearly identical. The aft portion of the right airfoil creates the higher turning. The example shown above explains why the aft portion of wings have hinged sections to control and maneuver an aircraft. Deflecting the aft section down produces a geometry similar to the figure on the right producing more lift. Similarly, if the aft section is deflected up, it creates less lift (or even negative lift). The ability to vary the amount of lift over a portion of the wing gives the pilot the ability to maneuver an aircraft. This is achieved by the deflection of the control surfaces. Elevator controls pitching motion. Rudder controls yawing motion. Ailerons control rolling motion.

How Size Affects The Lift :

The amount of lift generated by an object depends on the size of the object. Lift is an aerodynamic force and therefore depends on the pressure variation of the air around the body as it moves through the air. The total aerodynamic force is equal to the pressure times the surface area around the body. Lift is the component of this force perpendicular to the flight direction. Like the other aerodynamic force, drag, the lift is directly proportional to the area of the object. Doubling the area doubles the lift. There are several different areas from which to choose when developing the reference area used in the lift equation. Since most of the lift is generated by the wings, and lift is the force perpendicular to the flight direction, the logical choice is the wing planform area. The planform area is the area of the wing as viewed from above the wing, looking along the "lift" direction. It is a flat plane, and is NOT the total surface area (top and bottom) of the entire wing, although it is almost half that number for most wings. We could, in theory, use the total surface area as the reference area. The total surface area is proportional to the wing planform area. Since the lift coefficient is determined experimentally, by measuring the lift and measuring the area and performing the necessary math to produce the coefficient, we are free to use any area which can be easily measured. If we choose the total surface area, the computed coefficient has a different value than if we choose the wing planform area, but the lift is the same, and the coefficients are related by the ratio of the areas. This slide shows the projected surface area for two different aircraft. The airplane on the left is shown in a cruise condition while the airplane on the right is shown in a takeoff or landing condition. Takeoff and landing are times of relatively low velocity, so to keep the lift high (to avoid the ground!) designers try to increase the wing area. This is done by sliding the flaps backwards along metal tracks and shifting the slats forward to increase the wing area. The next time you fly in an airliner, watch the wings during takeoff and landing to see the change in wing area

How Inclination Affects The Lift :

As a wing moves through the air, the wing is inclined to the flight direction at some angle. The angle between the chord line and the flight direction is called the angle of attack and has a large effect on the lift generated by a wing. When an airplane takes off, the pilot applies as much thrust as possible to make the airplane roll along the runway. But just before lifting off, the pilot "rotates" the aircraft. The nose of the airplane rises, increasing the angle of attack and producing the increased lift needed for takeoff. The magnitude of the lift generated by an object depends on the shape of the object and how it moves through the air. For thin airfoils, the lift is directly proportional to the angle of attack for small angles (within +/- 10 degrees). For higher angles, however, the dependence is quite complex. As an object moves through the air, air molecules stick to the surface. This creates a layer of air near the surface called a boundary layer that, in effect, changes the shape of the object. The flow turning reacts to the edge of the boundary layer just as it would to the physical surface of the object. To make things more confusing, the boundary layer may lift off or "separate" from the body and create an effective shape much different from the physical shape. The separation of the boundary layer explains why aircraft wings will abruptly lose lift at high angles to the flow. This condition is called a wing stall. On the slide shown above, the flow conditions for two airfoils are shown on the left. The shape of the two foils is the same. The lower foil is inclined at ten degrees to the incoming flow, while the upper foil is inclined at twenty degrees. On the upper foil, the boundary layer has separated and the wing is stalled. Predicting the stall point (the angle at which the wing stalls) is very difficult mathematically. Engineers usually rely on wind tunnel tests to determine the stall point. But the test must be done very carefully, matching all the important similarity parameters of the actual flight hardware.

The plot at the right of the figure shows how the lift varies with angle of attack for a typical thin airfoil. At low angles, the lift is nearly linear. Notice on this plot that at zero angle a small amount of lift is generated because of the airfoil shape. If the airfoil had been symmetric, the lift would be zero at zero angle of attack. At the right of the curve, the lift changes rather abruptly and the curve stops. In reality, you can set the airfoil at any angle you want. However, once the wing stalls, the flow becomes highly unsteady, and the value of the lift can change rapidly with time. Because it is so hard to measure such flow conditions, engineers usually leave the plot blank beyond wing stall. Since the amount of lift generated at zero angle and the location of the stall point must usually be determined experimentally, aerodynamicists include the effects of inclination in the lift coefficient. For some simple examples, the lift coefficient can be determined mathematically. For thin airfoils at subsonic speed, and small angle of attack, the lift coefficient Cl is given by: Cl = 2 * pi * a where pi is 3.1415, and a is the angle of attack expressed in radians: pi radians = 180 degrees Aerodynamicists rely on wind tunnel testing and very sophisticated computer analysis to determine the lift coefficient.

Shed Vortex & Downwash :

Lift is the force which holds an aircraft in the air. From a Newtonian perspective, lift is generated by turning a flow of air. The flow turning creates a downwash from the wing which can be observed in flight. The flow turning that occurs in the creation of lift also creates bound vorticity within the airfoil. For a general shaped airfoil, there is some distribution of vorticity which we can think of as small vortices. For the simple Joukowski airfoil, shown in this figure, there is a single vortex present at the center of the generating cylinder. The flowfield from this generating cylinder has been conformally mapped into the airfoil, but the vorticity has been maintained. The existence of the bound vortex (or vortices) within the airfoil created an important theoretical problem when it was first proposed. A static fluid has no vorticity within it; vorticity is zero in a static fluid. From the fluid conservation laws, if a fluid initially has no vorticity within it, then the net vorticity must remain zero within the domain. With a bound vortex within the object, there would then have to be another vortex of opposite strength present within the flow domain. Then the sum of the two vortices, one spinning clockwise, the other counter clockwise, would be zero as required by the conservation laws. Where is the other vortex? It took some very careful experimental work by Ludwig Prandtl to actually "catch" the other vortex on film. In his experiment he placed an airfoil in a tunnel with no flow. He turned the tunnel on and as the flow began he photographed the flowfield at the trailing edge of the airfoil. What he saw was a vortex shed from the trailing edge, spinning opposite to the predicted bound vortex in the airfoil. The shed vortex was convected downstream and eventually mixed out due to viscous effects in the air stream. Without viscosity, the shed vortex would remain with constant strength and would be carried downstream away from the airfoil. This is depicted by the vortex at the right of the figure.

How Downwash Affects The Lift :

There are many factors which influence the amount of aerodynamic lift which a body generates. Lift depends on the shape, size, inclination, and flow conditions of the air passing the object. For a three dimensional wing, there is an additional effect on lift, called downwash, which will be discussed on this page. For a lifting wing, the air pressure on the top of the wing is lower than the pressure below the wing. Near the tips of the wing, the air is free to move from the region of high pressure into the region of low pressure. The resulting flow is shown on the figure at the left by the two circular blue lines with the arrowheads showing the flow direction. As the aircraft moves to the lower left, a pair of counter-rotating vortices are formed at the wing tips. The lines marking the center of the vortices are shown as blue vortex lines leading from the wing tips. If the atmosphere has very high humidity, you can sometimes see the vortex lines on an airliner during landing as long thin "clouds" leaving the wing tips. The wing tip vortices produce a downwash of air behind the wing which is very strong near the wing tips and decreases toward the wing root. The local angle of attack of the wing is increased by the flow induced by the downwash, giving an additional, downstream-facing, component to the aerodynamic force acting over the entire wing. The downstream component of the force is called induced drag because it faces downstream and has been "induced" by the action of the tip vortices. The lift near the wing tips is defined to be perpendicular to the local flow. The local flow is at a greater angle of attack than the free stream flow because of the induced flow. Resolving the tip lift back to the free stream reference produces a reduction in the lift coefficient of the entire wing. The analysis for the reduction in the lift coefficient is fairly tedious and relies on some theoretical ideas which are beyond the scope of the Beginner's Guide. The result of the analysis is an equation for the reduction of the lift coefficient. The final wing lift coefficient Cl is equal to the basic free stream lift coefficient Clo divided by the quantity: 1.0 plus the basic lift coefficient divided by pi (3.14159) times the aspect ratio AR. Cl = Clo / (1 + Clo /[pi * AR]) The aspect ratio is the square of the span s divided by the wing area A. For a rectangular wing this reduces to the ratio of the span to the chord. Long, slender, high aspect ratio wings have less lift reduction than short, thick, low aspect ratio wings as shown in the graph on the right of the figure. Reduced lift coefficient is a three dimensional effect related to the wing tips. The longer the wing, the farther the tips are from the main portion of the wing, and the smaller the lift reduction.

This picture dramatically shows airplane downwash. The picture was sent to us by Jan-Olov Newborg, from Stockholm, Sweden, and was originally taken by Paul Bowens. In the picture, the Cessna Citation has just flown above a cloud deck shown in the background. The downwash from the wing has pushed a trough into the cloud deck. The swirling flow from the tip vortices is also evident

Lift Equation :

Lift depends on the density of the air, the square of the velocity, the air's viscosity and compressibility, the surface area over which the air flows, the shape of the body, and the body's inclination to the flow. In general, the dependence on body shape, inclination, air viscosity, and compressibility is very complex. One way to deal with complex dependencies is to characterize the dependence by a single variable. For lift, this variable is called the lift coefficient, designated "Cl." This allows us to collect all the effects, simple and complex, into a single equation. The lift equation states that lift L is equal to the lift coefficient Cl times the density r times half of the velocity V squared times the wing area A. L = Cl * A * .5 * r * V^2 For given air conditions, shape, and inclination of the object, we have to determine a value for Cl to determine the lift. For some simple flow conditions and geometries and low inclinations, aerodynamicists can determine the value of Cl mathematically. But, in general, this parameter is determined experimentally.

In the equation given above, the density is designated by the letter "r." We do not use "d" for density, since "d" is often used to specify distance. In many textbooks on aerodynamics, the density is given by the Greek symbol "rho" (Greek for "r"). The combination of terms "density times the square of the velocity divided by two" is called the dynamic pressure and appears in Bernoulli's pressure equation.

Lift Coefficient:

The lift coefficient is a number that aerodynamicists use to model all of the complex dependencies of shape, inclination, and some flow conditions on lift. This equation is simply a rearrangement of the lift equation where we solve for the lift coefficient in terms of the other variables. The lift coefficient Cl is equal to the lift L divided by the quantity: density r times half the velocity V squared times the wing area A. Cl = L / (A * .5 * r * V^2) The quantity one half the density times the velocity squared is called the dynamic pressure q. So Cl = L / (q * A) The lift coefficient then expresses the ratio of the lift force to the force produced by the dynamic pressure times the area. Here is a way to determine a value for the lift coefficient. In a controlled environment (wind tunnel) we can set the velocity, density, and area and measure the lift produced. Through division, we

arrive at a value for the lift coefficient. We can then predict the lift that will be produced under a different set of velocity, density (altitude), and area conditions using the lift equation. The lift coefficient contains the complex dependencies of object shape on lift. For three dimensional wings, the downwash generated near the wing tips reduces the overall lift coefficient of the wing. The lift coefficient also contains the effects of air viscosity and compressibility. To correctly use the lift coefficient, we must be sure that the viscosity and compressibility effects are the same between our measured case and the predicted case. Otherwise, the prediction will be inaccurate. For very low speeds (< 200 mph) the compressibility effects are negligible. At higher speeds, it becomes important to match Mach numbers between the two cases. Mach number is the ratio of the velocity to the speed of sound. So it is completely incorrect to measure a lift coefficient at some low speed (say 200 mph) and apply that lift coefficient at twice the speed of sound (approximately 1,400 mph, Mach = 2.0). The compressibility of the air will alter the important physics between these two cases. Similarly, we must match air viscosity effects, which becomes very difficult. The important matching parameter for viscosity is the Reynolds number. The Reynolds number expresses the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces. If the Reynolds number of the experiment and flight are close, then we properly model the effects of the viscous forces relative to the inertial forces. If they are very different, we do not correctly model the physics of the real problem and will predict an incorrect lift.

Drag Basics :
What Is Drag :

Drag is the aerodynamic force that opposes an aircraft's motion through the air. Drag is generated by every part of the airplane (even the engines!). How is drag generated? Drag is a mechanical force. It is generated by the interaction and contact of a solid body with a fluid (liquid or gas). It is not generated by a force field, in the sense of a gravitational field or an electromagnetic field, where one object can affect another object without being in physical contact. For drag to be generated, the solid body must be in contact with the fluid. If there is no fluid, there is no drag. Drag is generated by the difference in velocity between the solid object and the fluid. There must be motion between the object and the fluid. If there is no motion, there is no drag. It makes no difference whether the object moves through a static fluid or whether the fluid moves past a static solid object. Drag is a force and is therefore a vector quantity having both a magnitude and a direction. Drag acts in a direction that is opposite to the motion of the aircraft. Lift acts perpendicular to the motion. There are many factors that affect the magnitude of the drag. Many of the factors also affect lift but there are some factors that are unique to aircraft drag. We can think of drag as aerodynamic friction, and one of the sources of drag is the skin friction between the molecules of the air and the solid surface of the aircraft. Because the skin friction is

an interaction between a solid and a gas, the magnitude of the skin friction depends on properties of both solid and gas. For the solid, a smooth, waxed surface produces less skin friction than a roughened surface. For the gas, the magnitude depends on the viscosity of the air and the relative magnitude of the viscous forces to the motion of the flow, expressed as the Reynolds number. Along the solid surface, a boundary layer of low energy flow is generated and the magnitude of the skin friction depends on conditions in the boundary layer. We can also think of drag as aerodynamic resistance to the motion of the object through the fluid. This source of drag depends on the shape of the aircraft and is called form drag. As air flows around a body, the local velocity and pressure are changed. Since pressure is a measure of the momentum of the gas molecules and a change in momentum produces a force, a varying pressure distribution will produce a force on the body. We can determine the magnitude of the force by integrating (or adding up) the local pressure times the surface area around the entire body. The component of the aerodynamic force that is opposed to the motion is the drag; the component perpendicular to the motion is the lift. Both the lift and drag force act through the center of pressure of the object. There is an additional drag component caused by the generation of lift. Aerodynamicists have named this component the induced drag. This drag occurs because the flow near the wing tips is distorted spanwise as a result of the pressure difference from the top to the bottom of the wing. Swirling vortices are formed at the wing tips, which produce a down wash of air behind the wing which is very strong near the wing tips and decreases toward the wing root. The local angle of attack of the wing is increased by the induced flow of the down wash, giving an additional, downstream-facing, component to the aerodynamic force acting over the entire wing. This additional force is called induced drag because it has been "induced" by the action of the tip vortices. It is also called "drag due to lift" because it only occurs on finite, lifting wings. The magnitude of induced drag depends on the amount of lift being generated by the wing and on the wing geometry. Long, thin (chordwise) wings have low induced drag; short wings with a large chord have high induced drag. Additional sources of drag include wave drag and ram drag. As an aircraft approaches the speed of sound, shock waves are generated along the surface. There is an additional drag penalty (called wave drag) that is associated with the formation of the shock waves. The magnitude of the wave drag depends on the Mach number of the flow. Ram drag is associated with slowing down the free stream air as air is brought inside the aircraft. Jet engines and cooling inlets on the aircraft are sources of ram drag.

Drag Equation :
Drag depends on the density of the air, the square of the velocity, the air's viscosity and compressibility, the size and shape of the body, and the body's inclination to the flow. In general, the dependence on body shape, inclination, air viscosity, and compressibility is very complex. One way to deal with complex dependencies is to characterize the dependence by a single variable. For drag, this variable is called the drag coefficient, designated "Cd." This allows us to collect all the effects, simple and complex, into a single equation. The drag equation states that drag D is equal to the drag coefficient Cd times the density r times half of the velocity V squared times the reference area A. D = Cd * A * .5 * r * V^2

For given air conditions, shape, and inclination of the object, we must determine a value for Cd to determine drag. Determining the value of the drag coefficient is more difficult than determining the lift coefficient because of the multiple sources of drag. The drag coefficient given above includes form drag, skin friction drag, wave drag, and induced drag components. Ram drag is usually included in the net thrust because it depends on the airflow through the engine. Drag coefficients are almost always determined experimentally using a wind tunnel. Notice that the area (A) given in the drag equation is given as a reference area. The drag depends directly on the size of the body. Since we are dealing with aerodynamic forces, the dependence can be characterized by some area. But which area do we choose? If we think of drag as being caused by friction between the air and the body, a logical choice would be the total surface area of the body. If we think of drag as being a resistance to the flow, a more logical choice would be the frontal area of the body that is perpendicular to the flow direction. And finally, if we want to compare with the lift coefficient, we should use the same wing area used to derive the lift coefficient. Since the drag coefficient is usually determined experimentally by measuring drag and the area and then performing the division to produce the coefficient, we are free to use any area that can be easily measured. If we choose the wing area, rather than the crosssectional area, the computed coefficient will have a different value. But the drag is the same, and the coefficients are related by the ratio of the areas. In practice, drag coefficients are reported based on a wide variety of object areas. In the report, the aerodynamicist must specify the area used; when using the data, the reader may have to convert the drag coefficient using the ratio of the areas. In the equation given above, the density is designated by the letter "r." We do not use "d" for density since "d" is often used to specify distance. In many textbooks on aerodynamics, density is

given by the Greek symbol "rho" (Greek for "r"). The combination of terms "density times the square of the velocity divided by two" is called the dynamic pressure and appears in Bernoulli's pressure equation.

Drag Coefficient:

The drag coefficient is a number that aerodynamicists use to model all of the complex dependencies of shape, inclination, and flow conditions on aircraft drag. This equation is simply a rearrangement of the drag equation where we solve for the drag coefficient in terms of the other variables. The drag coefficient Cd is equal to the drag D divided by the quantity: density r times half the velocity V squared times the reference area A. Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2) The quantity one half the density times the velocity squared is called the dynamic pressure q. So Cd = D / (q * A) The drag coefficient then expresses the ratio of the drag force to the force produced by the dynamic pressure times the area. This equation gives us a way to determine a value for the drag coefficient. In a controlled environment (wind tunnel) we can set the velocity, density, and area and measure the drag produced. Through division we arrive at a value for the drag coefficient. As pointed out on the

drag equation slide, the choice of reference area (wing area, frontal area, surface area, ...) will affect the actual numerical value of the drag coefficient that is calculated. When reporting drag coefficient values, it is important to specify the reference area that is used to determine the coefficient. We can predict the drag that will be produced under a different set of velocity, density (altitude), and area conditions using the drag equation. The drag coefficient contains not only the complex dependencies of object shape and inclination, but also the effects of air viscosity and compressibility. To correctly use the drag coefficient, we must be sure that the viscosity and compressibility effects are the same between our measured case and the predicted case. Otherwise, the prediction will be inaccurate. For very low speeds (< 200 mph) the compressibility effects are negligible. At higher speeds, it becomes important to match Mach numbers between the two cases. Mach number is the ratio of the velocity to the speed of sound. At supersonic speeds, shock waves will be present in the flow field and we must be sure to account for the wave drag in the drag coefficient. So it is completely incorrect to measure a drag coefficient at some low speed (say 200 mph) and apply that drag coefficient at twice the speed of sound (approximately 1,400 mph, Mach = 2.0). It is even more important to match air viscosity effects. The important matching parameter for viscosity is the Reynolds number that expresses the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces. In our discussions on the sources of drag, recall that skin friction drag depends directly on the viscous interaction of the object and the flow. If the Reynolds number of the experiment and flight are close, then we properly model the effects of the viscous forces relative to the inertial forces. If they are very different, we do not correctly model the physics of the real problem and will predict an incorrect drag. The drag coefficient equation will apply to any object if we properly match flow conditions. If we are considering an aircraft, we can think of the drag coefficient as being composed of two main components; a basic drag coefficient which includes the effects of skin friction and shape (form), and an additional drag coefficient related to the lift of the aircraft. This additional source of drag is called the induced drag and it is produced at the wing tips due to aircraft lift. Because of pressure differences above and below the wing, the air on the bottom of the wing is drawn onto the top near the wing tips. This creates a swirling flow which changes the effective angle of attack along the wing and "induces" a drag on the wing. The induced drag coefficient Cdi is equal to the square of the lift coefficient Cl divided by the quantity: pi (3.14159) times the aspect ratio AR times an efficiency factor e. Cdi = (Cl^2) / (pi * AR * e) The aspect ratio is the square of the span s divided by the wing area A. AR = s^2 / A For a rectangular wing this reduces to the ratio of the span to the chord. Long, slender, high aspect ratio wings have lower induced drag than short, thick, low aspect ratio wings. Lifting line theory shows that the optimum (lowest) induced drag occurs for an elliptic distribution of lift from tip to tip. The efficiency factor e is equal to 1.0 for an elliptic distribution and is some value less than 1.0 for any other lift distribution. A typical value for e for a rectangular wing is .70 . The outstanding aerodynamic performance of the British Spitfire of World War II is partially attributable to its elliptic shaped wing which gave the aircraft a very low amount of induced drag. The total drag coefficient Cd is equal to the drag coefficient at zero lift Cdo plus the induced drag coefficient Cdi. Cd = Cdo + Cdi

The drag coefficient in this equation uses the wing area for the reference area. Otherwise, we could not add it to the square of the lift coefficient, which is also based on the wing area.

Induced Drag Coefficient:

There are many factors which influence the amount of aerodynamic drag which a body generates. Drag depends on the shape, size, inclination, and flow conditions of the air passing the object. For a three dimensional wing, there is an additional component of drag, called induced drag, which will be discussed on this page. For a lifting wing, the air pressure on the top of the wing is lower than the pressure below the wing. Near the tips of the wing, the air is free to move from the region of high pressure into the region of low pressure. The resulting flow is shown on the figure by the two circular blue lines with the arrowheads showing the flow direction. As the aircraft moves to the lower left, a pair of counter-rotating vortices are formed at the wing tips. The line of the center of the vortices are shown as blue vortex lines leading from the wing tips. If the atmosphere has very high humidity, you can sometimes see the vortex lines on an airliner during landing as long thin "clouds" leaving the wing tips. The wing tip vortices produce a down wash of air behind the wing which is very strong near the wing tips and decreases toward the wing root. The local angle of attack of the wing is increased by the induced flow of the down wash, giving an additional, downstreamfacing, component to the aerodynamic force acting over the entire wing. This additional force is called induced drag because it faces downstream and has been "induced" by the action of the tip vortices. It is also called "drag due to lift" because it only occurs on finite, lifting wings and varies with the square of the lift.

The derivation of the equation for the induced drag is fairly tedious and relies on some theoretical ideas which are beyond the scope of the Beginner's Guide. The induced drag coefficient Cdi is equal to the square of the lift coefficient Cl divided by the quantity: pi(3.14159) times the aspect ratio AR times an efficiency factor e. Cdi = (Cl^2) / (pi * AR * e) The aspect ratio is the square of the span s divided by the wing area A. AR = s^2 / A For a rectangular wing this reduces to the ratio of the span to the chord c. AR = s / c Long, slender, high aspect ratio wings have lower induced drag than short, thick, low aspect ratio wings. Induced drag is a three dimensional effect related to the wing tips. The longer the wing, the farther the tips are from the main portion of the wing, and the lower the induced drag. Lifting line theory shows that the optimum (lowest) induced drag occurs for an elliptic distribution of lift from tip to tip. The efficiency factor e is equal to 1.0 for an elliptic distribution and is some value less than 1.0 for any other lift distribution. The outstanding aerodynamic performance of the British Spitfire of World War II is partially attributable to its elliptic shaped wing which gave the aircraft a very low amount of induced drag. A more typical value of e = .7 for a rectangular wing. The total drag coefficient, Cd is equal to the base drag coefficient at zero lift Cdo plus the induced drag coefficient Cdi. Cd = Cdo + Cdi The drag coefficient in this equation uses the wing area for the reference area. Otherwise, we could not add it to the square of the lift coefficient, which is also based on the wing area.

Factors That Affect The Drag


When a solid body is moved through a fluid (gas or liquid), the fluid resists the motion. The object is subjected to an aerodynamic force in a direction opposed to the motion which we call drag. As with aircraft lift, there are many factors that affect drag. We can group these factors into (a) those associated with the object, (b) those associated with the motion of the object through the air, and (c) those associated with the air itself The Object Geometry has a large effect on the amount of drag generated by an object. As with lift, the drag depends linearly on the size of the object moving through the air. The cross-sectional shape of an object determines the form drag created by the pressure variation around the object. The three dimensional planform shape affects the induced drag of a lifting wing. If we think of drag as aerodynamic friction, the amount of drag depends on the surface roughness of the object; a smooth, waxed surface produces less drag than a roughened surface. This effect is called skin friction and is usually included in the measured drag coefficient of the object.

Motion of the Air Drag is associated with the movement of the aircraft through the air, so drag depends on the velocity of the air. Like lift, drag actually varies with the square of the relative velocity between the object and the air. The inclination of the object to the flow also affects the amount of drag generated by a given shaped object. If the object moves through the air at speeds near the speed of sound, shock waves are formed on the object which create an additional drag component called wave drag. The motion of the object through the air also causes boundary layers to form on the object. A boundary layer is a region of very low speed flow near the surface which contributes to the skin friction. Properties of the Air Drag depends directly on the mass of the flow going past the aircraft. The drag also depends in a complex way on two other properties of the air: its viscosity and its compressibility. These factors affect the wave drag and skin friction which are described above. We can gather all of this information on the factors that affect drag into a single mathematical equation called the Drag Equation. With the drag equation we can predict how much drag force is generated by a given body moving at a given speed through a given fluid.

How Shape Affects The Drag :

The drag coefficient is a number which aerodynamicists use to model all of the complex dependencies of drag on shape, inclination, and some flow conditions. The drag coefficient Cd is

equal to the drag D divided by the quantity: density r times reference area A times one half of the velocity V squared. Cd = D / (.5 * r * V^2 * A) This slide shows some typical values of the drag coefficient for a variety of shapes. The values shown here were determined experimentally by placing models in a wind tunnel and measuring the amount of drag, the tunnel conditions of velocity and density, and the reference area of the model. The drag equation given above was then used to calculate the drag coefficient. The projected frontal area of each object was used as the reference area. A flat plate has Cd = 1.28, a wedge shaped prism with the wedge facing downstream has Cd = 1.14, a sphere has a Cd that varies from .07 to .5, a bullet Cd = .295, and a typical airfoil Cd = .045. We can study the effect of shape on drag by comparing the values of drag coefficient for any two objects as long as the same reference area is used and the Mach number and Reynolds number are matched. All of the drag coefficients on this slide were produced in low speed (subsonic) wind tunnels and at similar Reynolds number, except for the sphere. A quick comparison shows that a flat plate gives the highest drag and a streamlined symmetric airfoil gives the lowest drag, by a factor of almost 30! Shape has a very large effect on the amount of drag produced. The drag coefficient for a sphere is given with a range of values because the drag on a sphere is highly dependent on Reynolds number. Flow past a sphere, or cylinder, goes through a number of transitions with velocity. At very low velocity, a stable pair of vortices are formed on the downwind side. As velocity increases, the vortices become unstable and are alternately shed downstream. As velocity is increased even more, the boundary layer transitions to chaotic turbulent flow with vortices of many different scales being shed in a turbulent wake from the body. Each of these flow regimes produce a different amount of drag on the sphere. Comparing the flat plate and the prism, and the sphere and the bullet, we see that the downstream shape can be modified to reduce drag.

How Size Affects The Drag :

The amount of drag generated by an object depends on the size of the object. Drag is an aerodynamic force and therefore depends on the pressure variation of the air around the body as it moves through the air. The total aerodynamic force is equal to the pressure times the surface area around the body. Drag is the component of this force along the flight direction. Like the other aerodynamic force, lift, the drag is directly proportional to the area of the object. Doubling the area doubles the drag. There are several different areas from which to choose when developing the reference area used in the drag equation. If we think of drag as being caused by friction between the air and the body, a logical choice would be the total surface area (As) of the body. If we think of drag as being a resistance to the flow, a more logical choice would be the frontal area (Af) of the body which is perpendicular to the flow direction. This is the area shown in blue on the figure. Finally, if we want to compare with the lift coefficient, we should use the same area used to derive the lift coefficient, the wing area, (Aw). Each of the various areas are proportional to the other areas, as designated by the "~" sign on the figure. Since the drag coefficient is determined experimentally, by measuring the drag and measuring the area and performing the necessary math to produce the coefficient, we are free to use any area which can be easily measured. If we choose the wing area, the computed coefficient has a different value than if we choose the cross-sectional area, but the drag is the same, and the coefficients are related by the ratio of the areas. In practice, drag coefficients are reported based on a wide variety of object areas. In the report, the aerodynamicist must specify what area is used and when using the data the reader may have to convert the drag coefficient using the ratio of the areas

How Inclination Affects The Drag :

As a wing moves through the air, the airfoil is inclined to the flight direction at an angle. The angle between the chord line and the flight direction is called the angle of attack and has a large effect on the drag generated by the wing. The magnitude of the drag generated by an object depends on the shape of the object and how it moves through the air. For thin airfoils, the drag is nearly constant at small angles (+/- 5 degrees). As the angle increases above 5 degrees, the drag quickly rises because of increased frontal area and increased boundary layer thickness. As an object moves through the air, air molecules stick to the surface. This creates a layer of air near the surface called a boundary layer which, in effect, changes the shape of the object. The flow reacts to the edge of the boundary layer just as it would to the physical surface of the object. To make things more confusing, the boundary layer may lift off or "separate" from the body and create an effective shape much different from the physical shape. When the boundary layer separates, the wing is said to be stalled and both drag and lift become unsteady. Determining the drag is very difficult under stalled conditions. On the slide, the flow conditions for two airfoils are shown on the left. The shape of the two foils is the same; the lower foil is inclined at ten degrees to the incoming flow, while the upper foil is inclined at twenty degrees. On the upper foil, the boundary layer has separated and the wing is stalled. Predicting the stall point, the angle at which the wing stalls, is very difficult mathematically. Engineers usually rely on wind tunnel tests to determine the stall point. But the test must be done very carefully, matching all the important similarity parameters. of the actual flight hardware. The plot at the right of the figure shows how the drag varies with angle of attack for a typical thin airfoil. At low angles, the drag is nearly constant. Notice on this plot that at zero angle, a small amount of drag is generated because of skin friction and the airfoil shape. At the right of the curve, the drag changes rather abruptly and the curve stops. In reality, you can set the airfoil at any angle you want. However, once the wing stalls, the flow becomes highly unsteady and the value of the drag changes rapidly with time. Because it is so hard to measure such flow conditions, engineers usually leave the plot blank beyond wing stall. Since the amount of drag generated at zero angle and the location of the stall point must usually be determined experimentally, aerodynamicists include the effects of inclination in the drag coefficient. But this presents an additional problem. There is another factor which affects the amount of drag produced by a finite wing. The effect is called induced drag or drag due to lift. The flow around the wing tips of a finite wing create an "induced" angle of attack on the wing near the tips. As the angle increases, the lift coefficient increases and this changes the amount of the induced drag. To separate the effects of angle of attack on drag, and drag due to lift, aerodynamicists often use two wing models. The wing model to determine angle of attack effects is long and thin, and may span the entire tunnel to produce a "two-dimensional" airfoil. Another model is used to determine the effects of the wing tips on the drag.

Thrust Basics :
What Is The Thrust :

Thrust is the force which moves an aircraft through the air. Thrust is used to overcome the drag of an airplane, and to overcome the weight of a rocket. Thrust is generated by the engines of the aircraft through some kind of propulsion system. Thrust is a mechanical force, so the propulsion system must be in physical contact with a working fluid to produce thrust. Thrust is generated most often through the reaction of accelerating a mass of gas. Since thrust is a force, it is a vector quantity having both a magnitude and a direction. The engine does work on the gas and accelerates the gas to the rear of the engine; the thrust is generated in the opposite direction from the accelerated gas. The magnitude of the thrust depends on the amount of gas that is accelerated and on the difference in velocity of the gas through the engine. The physics involved in the generation of thrust is introduced in middle school and studied in some detail in high school and college. To accelerate the gas, we have to expend energy. The energy is generated as heat by the combustion of some fuel. The thrust equation describes how the acceleration of the gas produces a force. The type of propulsion system used on an aircraft may vary from airplane to airplane and each device produces thrust in a slightly different way. We will discuss four principal propulsion systems at this web site; the propeller, the turbine,or jet, engine, the ramjet, and the rocket.

Excess Thrust :

The propulsion system of an aircraft must perform two important roles: During cruise, the engine must provide enough thrust, to balance the aircraft drag while using as little fuel as possible. During takeoff and maneuvers, the engine must provide additional thrust to accelerate the aircraft.

Thrust T and drag D are forces and are vector quantities which have a magnitude and a direction associated with them. The thrust minus the drag of the aircraft is called the excess thrust and is also a vector quantity. Considering Newton's second law of motion, mass m times acceleration a is equal to the net external force F on an object: F=m*a For an aircraft, the horizontal net external force Fh is the excess thrust Fex. Fex = Fh = T - D = m * a Therefore, the acceleration of an aircraft is equal to the excess thrust divided by the mass of the aircraft.

a = (T - D) / m The thrust divided by the mass of the aircraft is closely related to the thrust to weight ratio. Airplanes with high excess thrust, like fighter planes, can accelerate faster than aircraft with low excess thrust. If the excess thrust and the mass remain constant, the basic equation of motion can be easily solved for the velocity and displacement as a function of time. This equation can be used only if the force (and the acceleration) are constant. Unfortunately for aircraft, drag is a function of the square of the velocity. So we can assume a constant force for only a very small amount of time. To solve the actual equations of motion for an aircraft, we must use calculus and integrate the equations of motion, either analytically or numerically.

Vectored Thrust :

Some modern fighter aircraft can change the angle of the thrust by using a movable nozzle. The ability to change the angle of the thrust is called thrust vectoring, or vectored thrust. Forces are vector quantities having a magnitude and a direction. The resulting acceleration, velocity and displacement of the aircraft are also vector quantities which can be determined by Newton's second law of motion and the rules of vector algebra. There are two component equations for the force on an aircraft. One equation gives the the net vertical force Fv, and the other gives the net horizontal force Fh. If we denote the thrust by the symbol T, the lift by L, the drag by D, and the weight by W, the usual force equations for an aircraft in level flight are:

Vertical: Horizontal:

L - W = Fv T - D = Fh

The quantity (T - D) is called the excess thrust and is related to the aircraft's ability to accelerate. Good fighter aircraft have high excess thrust. The ability to climb and maneuver involves the vertical net force as well as the excess thrust. Since the thrust force is already a large force for fighter aircraft, designers have sought ways to bring this force into the vertical equations of motion. With new mechanical systems it is possible to deflect the engine exhaust from the nozzle and cant the thrust vector at an angle. We will call this angle c. The resulting force equations are shown on the slide: Vertical: Horizontal: L - W + T sin(c) = Fv T cos(c) - D = Fh

where sin and cos are the trigonometric sine and cosine functions. The thrust now appears in the vertical force equation. This allows the aircraft to climb faster than an aircraft without thrust vectoring and to execute sharper turns than an un-vectored aircraft. For moderate angles, the cos is nearly equal to one, so the aircraft still has high excess thrust. The horizontal acceleration ah and vertical acceleration av of the aircraft are given by: av = Fv /m ah = Fh /m where m is the mass of the aircraft. The only serious penalty for having vectored thrust is that the nozzle is heavier than a standard nozzle.