NACA Airfoil Series
Please send me information on the NACA 4, 5 and 6 digit airfoils. I would like toknow some general information, their applications, advantages, disadvantages,and the formulas used to calculate the coordinates.
- question from Nastasae
I'm currently trying to design a 3D model of theB-58bomber, but I lack themathematical definitions of NACA profiles such as 0003.46-64.069 (root section)and 0004.08-63 (tip section). I've found 4- and 5-digit NACA airfoil generators,but they don't seem to do the job. Can you provide any help?
- question from Jean-Philippe Divo
As you suggest in your questions, the early NACA airfoil series, the 4-digit, 5-digit, andmodified 4-/5-digit, were generated using analytical equations that describe the camber (curvature) of the mean-line (geometric centerline) of the airfoil section as well as thesection's thickness distribution along the length of the airfoil. Later families, including the6-Series, are more complicated shapes derived using theoretical rather thangeometrical methods. Before the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)developed these series, airfoil design was rather arbitrary with nothing to guide thedesigner except past experience with known shapes and experimentation withmodifications to those shapes.This methodology began to change in the early 1930s with the publishing of a NACAreport entitled
The Characteristics of 78 Related Airfoil Sections from Tests in theVariable Density Wind Tunnel
. In this landmark report, the authors noted that there weremany similarities between the airfoils that were most successful, and the two primaryvariables that affect those shapes are the slope of the airfoil mean camber line and thethickness distribution above and below this line. They then presented a series of equations incorporating these two variables that could be used to generate an entirefamily of related airfoil shapes. As airfoil design became more sophisticated, this basicapproach was modified to include additional variables, but these two basic geometricalvalues remained at the heart of all NACA airfoil series, as illustrated below.
NACA airfoil geometrical construction