# Aerodynamics Lab 3

Direct Measurement of Airfoil Lift and Drag

David Clark
Group 1
MAE 449 – Aerospace Laboratory

Abstract
The characterization of lift an airfoil can generate is an important process in the field of
aerodynamics. The following exercise studies a NACA 0012 airfoil with a chord of 4 inches. By varying
the angle of attack at a known Reynolds number, the lift coefficient, Cl, can be determined by using a
two-component dynamometer. Normalizing the lift and drag forces against the reference area, as well
as correcting for some disturbances due to the experiment setup. The lift and drag coefficient calculated
using this setup is less accurate than previous methods.

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Contents
Abstract .................................................................................................................................................. 2
Introduction and Background................................................................................................................. 4
Introduction........................................................................................................................................ 4
Governing Equations .......................................................................................................................... 4
Similarity ............................................................................................................................................. 5
Boundary Corrections ......................................................................................................................... 5
Equipment and Procedure ..................................................................................................................... 7
Equipment .......................................................................................................................................... 7
Experiment Setup ............................................................................................................................... 7
Basic Procedure .................................................................................................................................. 8
Data, Calculations, and Analysis ............................................................................................................. 8
Raw Data ............................................................................................................................................ 8
Preliminary Calculations ..................................................................................................................... 9
Results .................................................................................................................................................. 13
Discussion and Conclusions .................................................................................................................. 16
References ............................................................................................................................................ 17
Raw Data .............................................................................................................................................. 17

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Introduction and Background
Introduction
The following laboratory procedure explores the aerodynamic lift and drag forces experienced by a
NACA 0012 cylinder placed in a uniform free-stream velocity. This will be accomplished using a wind
tunnel and various pressure probes along an airfoil as the subject of study.
When viscous shear stresses act along a body, as they would during all fluid flow, the resultant force
can be expressed as a lift and drag component. The lift component is normal to the airflow, whereas the
drag component is parallel.
To further characterize and communicate these effects, non-dimensional coefficients are utilized.
For example, a simple non-dimensional coefficient can be expressed as
‫ܥ‬௙ =

‫ܨ‬

1
ቀ2 ߩܸ ଶ ቁ

ோாி

‫ܣ‬ோாி

Equation 1

where F is either the lift or drag forces, AREF is a specified reference area, ρ is the density of the fluid, and
V is the net velocity experienced by the object.

Governing Equations
To assist in determining the properties of the working fluid, air, several proven governing
equations can be used, including the ideal gas law, Sutherland’s viscosity correlation, and Bernoulli’s
equation. These relationships are valid for steady, incompressible, irrotational flow at nominal
temperatures with negligible body forces.
The ideal gas law can be used to relate the following
‫ܴܶߩ = ݌‬
Equation 2

where p is the pressure of the fluid, R is the universal gas constant (287 J/(kg K)), and T is the
temperature of the gas. This expression establishes the relationship between the three properties of air
that are of interest for use in this experiment.

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Another parameter needed is the viscosity of the working fluid. Sutherland’s viscosity
correlation is readily available for the testing conditions and can be expressed as
ߤ=

ܾܶ ଴.ହ
ܵ
1+
ܶ

Equation 3

where b is equal to 1.458 x 10-6 (kg)/(m s K^(0.5)) and S is 110.4 K.
Finally, Bernoulli’s equation defines the total stagnation pressure as
1
‫݌‬଴ = ‫ ݌‬+ ߩܸ ଶ
2
Equation 4

Similarity
Using the previous governing equations, we can use the Reynolds number. The Reynolds
number is important because it allows the results obtained in this laboratory procedure to be scaled to
larger scenarios. The Reynolds number can be expressed as
ܴ݁ =

ߩܸܿ
ߤ

Equation 5

where c is a characteristic dimension of the body. For a cylinder, this dimension will be the diameter. As
a result, the Reynolds number based on diameter is referenced as ReD.

Boundary Corrections
The following experiment must consider three different corrections due to the setup of the
tunnel section.
First, the “squeezing” of the inviscid flow causes the streamlines to flatten and push toward the
center of the test section. This effect is referred to as horizontal buoyancy. To correct for this effect, the
following expressions can be defined.
∆‫ܦ‬஻ = −

6ℎଶ
݀‫݌‬
Λߪ
ߨ
݀‫ݔ‬

Equation 6

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ߪ=

ߨଶ ܿ ଶ
ቀ ቁ
48 ℎ

Equation 7

The parameters used in these expressions include

h, the height of the wind tunnel section

Λ, the body shape factor (estimated from empirical charts)

c, the chord of the foil
The second consideration corrects for blockage due to equipment within the wind tunnel itself.

Like the previous correction, simple expressions have been derived to adjust the parameters.
ߝ௦௕௪ = Λߪ
Equation 8

ߝ௦௕௦ =

0.96ሺܸ‫݈݋‬௦௧௥௨௧ ሻ

‫ܣ‬௧௨௡௡௘௟ ଶ
Equation 9

ߝ௦௕ = ߝ௦௕௪ + ߝ௦௕௦
Equation 10

ߝ௪௕ =

ܿ/ℎ
‫ܥ‬
4 ௗ௨

Equation 11

Though some parameters have already been defined, the corrections for blockage introduce the
following parameters.

Volstrut, the volume of the strut

Atunnel, the cross-sectional area of the tunnel

Cdu, the uncorrected drag coefficient

Finally, the last set of expressions corrects for the presence of the floor and ceiling within the
wind tunnel.
Δߙ௦௖ =

57.3ߪ
൬‫ܥ‬௟௨ + 3‫ܥ‬௠௖ ௨ ൰

Equation 12

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Δ‫ܥ‬௟,௦௖ = −ߪ‫ܥ‬௟௨
Equation 13

1
Δ‫ܥ‬௠௖ ,௦௖ = − Δ‫ܥ‬௟,௦௖
4

Equation 14

where

Clu, the uncorrected lift coefficient

Cmc/4u, the uncorrected c/4 moment coefficient
The use of each correction equation is further explained in the calculation section.

Equipment and Procedure
Equipment
The following experiment used the following equipment:

A wind tunnel with a 1-ft x 1-ft test section

NACA 0012 airfoil section

A transversing mechanism to move the pitot tube to various sections of the test section

A Pitot-static probe

Digital pressure transducer

Data Acquisition (DAQ) Hardware

Two-component dynamometer (to measure lift and drag forces)

Experiment Setup
Before beginning, the pressure and temperature of laboratory testing conditions was measured and
recorded. Using equations 2 and 3, the density and viscosity of the air was calculated.
The UAH wind tunnel contains cutouts to allow the NACA airfoil to be mounted inside the test
section. The two-component dynamometer can measure the force exerted perpendicular and parallel to
the airflow, which represent the lift and drag respectively.

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Basic Procedure
To ensure the working flow is relatively laminar and within a range acceptable for study, the
procedure initiated flow with a Reynolds number of 250,000. The velocity at which the laboratory air
must be accelerated was determined by solving equation 5 for velocity. First, the density and viscosity of
the air must be calculated using equations 2 and 3 respectively.
Using the DAQ hardware, the lift and drag at each angle of attack and specified dynamic pressure
was recorded.

Data, Calculations, and Analysis
Raw Data
The following table catalogs the pressure read by the DAQ hardware for the specified rotations.
Three data sets were taken to ensure integrity.

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Data Set 1
Angle
-4
-2
-0.25
2
4
6
8
10
12

Dynamic Pressure
868
868
867
865
866
867
864
868
867

Angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Dynamic Pressure
869
868
868
867
868
868
869
867
868

Lift
-2.50
-0.65
1.32
2.41
5.77
8.58
9.92
10.90
8.10

Drag
-0.51
-0.43
-0.28
-0.35
-0.42
-0.54
-0.63
-0.75
-2.95

Lift
1.35
1.50
3.48
5.83
7.18
8.49
9.23
10.97
8.17

Drag
-0.40
-0.38
-0.41
-0.44
-0.50
-0.57
-0.58
-0.77
-2.99

Lift
1.35
1.43
3.03
4.25
5.95
8.43
10.05
10.75
9.30

Drag
-0.38
-0.40
-0.40
-0.42
-0.45
-0.56
-0.67
-0.75
-2.35

Data Set 2

Data Set 3
Angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Dynamic Pressure
867
868
866
867
867
868
867
867
868
Table 1

Preliminary Calculations
First, the density and viscosity of the air at laboratory conditions was calculated. This can easily be
accomplished using equation 2 and 3.
ߩ=

‫݌‬
99.1݇ܲܽ
݇݃
=
= 1.1660 ଷ
ܴܶ 287 ‫ ܬ‬296.15‫ܭ‬
݉
݇݃‫ܭ‬
Equation 15

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݇݃
ି଺
଴.ହ
݇݃
ܾܶ ଴.ହ ൬1.827 × 10 ݉ ‫ ܭ ݏ‬଴.ହ ൰ ሾሺ296.15 ‫ܭ‬ሻ ሿ
=
= 1.83 × 10ହ
ߤ=
ܵ
110.4 ‫ܭ‬
݉‫ݏ‬
1+
1+
ܶ
296.15 ‫ܭ‬
Equation 16

For a Reynolds number of 250,000, the velocity of the airflow must therefore be
ܴ݁ ߤ
ܸ=
=
ߩܿ

ሺ250000ሻ ൬1.83 × 10ହ
൬1.1660

݇݃

݉‫ݏ‬

݇݃
൰ ሺ0.1016 × 10ିଶ ݉ሻ
݉ଷ

= 38.57

݉
‫ݏ‬

Equation 17

This value is determined using the definition of the Reynolds number where c, the reference length, is
the known value of the chord, 0.1016 meters. For reference, the value for q can be calculated as
1
1
݇݃
݉ ଶ
‫ݍ‬ஶ = ߩܸ ଶ = ൬1.1660 ଷ ൰ ቀ38.57 ቁ = 867.37 ܲܽ
2
2
݉
‫ݏ‬
Equation 18

All three data sets can be combined by averaging the three records for each angle.

Averaged Data
Angle
-4
-2
-0.25
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Lift
0.0667
0.7600
1.3200
3.2550
4.1633
6.3000
8.5000
9.7333
10.8733
8.5233

Drag
-0.4300
-0.4033
-0.2800
-0.4050
-0.4033
-0.4567
-0.5567
-0.6267
-0.7567
-2.7633

Table 2

The lift and drag can be used in equation one to determine the lift and drag coefficients. For
example, for -4 degrees angle of attack
‫ܥ‬௙ =

‫ܨ‬
0.0667ܰ
=
= 0.0025
1 ଶ
݇݃
1
݉ ଶ
ቀ2 ߩܸ ቁ
‫ܣ‬ோாி ൬ ൬1.660 ଷ ൰ ቀ38.57 ቁ ൰ ሺ0.03064݉ଶ ሻ
2
‫ݏ‬
݉
ோாி
Equation 19

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‫ܥ‬ௗ =

‫ܨ‬
0.4300ܰ
=
= 0.0162
1 ଶ
݇݃
݉ ଶ
1
‫ܣ‬ோாி ൬ ൬1.660 ଷ ൰ ቀ38.57 ቁ ൰ ሺ0.03064݉ଶ ሻ
ቀ ߩܸ ቁ
2
‫ݏ‬
2
݉
ோாி
Equation 20

Below is a table of the lift and drag coefficients. These lift coefficients must be corrected for the
three corrections mentioned previously.

Averaged Data
Angle
-4
-2
-0.25
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Lift Coefficient
0.0025
0.0286
0.0497
0.1225
0.1567
0.2371
0.3198
0.3662
0.4091
0.3207

Drag Coefficient
0.0162
0.0152
0.0105
0.0152
0.0152
0.0172
0.0209
0.0236
0.0285
0.1040

Table 3

To begin correcting for horizontal buoyancy, the following parameters need to be calculated.
ߪ=

ߨ ଶ ܿ ଶ ߨ ଶ 0.1016݉ ଶ
ቀ ቁ =

൰ = 0.0228
48 ℎ
48 0.3048݉
Equation 21

∆‫ܦ‬஻ = −

ܲܽ
6ℎଶ
݀‫݌‬
6ሺ0.3048݉ሻଶ
ሺ0.3ሻሺ0.0228ሻ ൬−120.3 ൰ = 0.1463ܰ
Λߪ
=−
ߨ
ߨ
݉
݀‫ݔ‬
Equation 22

It is important to note Λ is assuming a thickness to chord ratio is 0.3.
ߝ௦௕௪ = Λߪ = ሺ0.3ሻሺ0.0228ሻ = 6.853 × 10ିଷ
Equation 23

ߝ௦௕௦ =

0.96ሺܸ‫݈݋‬௦௧௥௨௧ ሻ 0.96ሺ5.96 × 10ିହ ݉ଷ ሻ
=
= 2.021 × 10ିଷ
ሺ0.0929݉ଶ ሻଷ/ଶ
‫ܣ‬ଷ/ଶ
Equation 24

The volume of the strut and cross-sectional area were known.
ߝ௦௕ = ߝ௦௕௪ + ߝ௦௕௦ = 6.853 × 10ିଷ + 2.021 × 10ିଷ = 8.887 × 10ିଷ
Equation 25

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The correction parameters εwb, Δαsc, ΔClsc, and ΔCmc/4sc are calculated on the fly for each angle since
these expressions utilize the uncorrected lift and drag coefficient, which varies for each angle of attack.
For example, for 0 degrees angle of attack
ߝ௪௕ =

ܿ/ℎ
0.1016݉/0.3048݉
ሺ−0.0152ሻ = −0.0013
‫ܥ‬ௗ௨ =
4
4
Equation 26

Δ‫ܥ‬௟,௦௖ = −ሺߪሻሺ‫ܥ‬௟௨ ሻ = −ሺ0.0228ሻሺ0.1225ሻ = −0.0028
Equation 27

1
1
Δ‫ܥ‬௠,௖ ,௦௖ = − Δ‫ܥ‬௟,௦௖ = − ሺ−0.0028ሻ = 0.0007
4
4

Equation 28

To further demonstrate the usage of the correction factors above, the parameters for the zero
angle of attack will all be calculated.
ܸ = ܸ௨ ሺ1 + ߝ௦௕ + ߝ௪௕ ሻ = 38.56

݉
݉
൫1 + ሺ8.874 × 10ିଷ ሻ + ሺ−0.0013 × 10ିଷ ሻ൯ = 38.86
‫ݏ‬
‫ݏ‬
Equation 29

‫ݍ = ݍ‬௨ ሺ1 + 2ߝ௦௕ + 2ߝ௪௕ ሻ = 867.37ܲܽ൫1 + 2ሺ8.874 × 10ିଷ ሻ + 2ሺ−0.0013 × 10ିଷ ሻ൯ = 880.87ܲܽ
Equation 30

ܴ݁ = ܴ݁௨ ሺ1 + ߝ௦௕ + ߝ௪௕ ሻ = 249947൫1 + ሺ8.874 × 10ିଷ ሻ + ሺ−0.0013 × 10ିଷ ሻ൯ = 251847
Equation 31

ߙ = ߙ௨ +

57.3ߪ
57.3ሺ0.0228ሻ
൬‫ܥ‬௟௨ + 4‫ܥ‬௠,௖ ,௨ ൰ = 0 +
൫0.1225 + 4ሺ0.0007ሻ൯ = 0.03 ‫݀ܽݎ‬

Equation 32

‫ܥ‬ௗ௨ =

ሺ‫ܦ‬௨ − Δ‫ܦ‬஻ ሻ ൫ሺ0.4050ܰሻ − ሺ0.1463ܰሻ൯
=
= 0.0208
ሺ867ܲܽሻሺ0.0306݉ଶ ሻ
‫ݍ‬௨ ܵ
Equation 33

‫ܥ‬ௗ = ‫ܥ‬ௗ௨ ሺ1 − 3ߝ௦௕ − 2ߝ௪௕ ሻ = 0.0208൫1 − 3ሺ8.874 × 10ିଷ ሻ − 2ሺ−0.0013 × 10ିଷ ሻ൯ = 0.0095
Equation 34

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Results
Using the same procedure outlined above, the following table catalogs all the parameters used in
calculating the corrected lift and drag coefficient.
Correction Calculation Summary
Uncorrected Data
Experimental
Angle of Attack
-4
-2
-0.25
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Average
Dynamic
Pressure
868.0
868.0
867.0
867.0
866.3
867.0
867.7
866.7
867.3
867.7

Experimental
Angle of Attack
-4
-2
-0.25
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

ε,wb
0.0013
0.0013
0.0009
0.0013
0.0013
0.0014
0.0017
0.0020
0.0024
0.0087

Experimental
Angle of Attack
-4
-2
-0.25
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

Corrected Angle
of Attack
-4.00
-1.99
-0.24
0.03
2.03
4.05
6.07
8.08
10.09
12.07

Reynolds Number
Velocity
250091
38.59
250091
38.59
249947
38.56
249947
38.56
249850
38.55
249947
38.56
250043
38.58
249898
38.56
249995
38.57
250043
38.58
Corrected Data / Correction Factors
Corrected Dynamic Corrected Reynolds
Pressure
Number
885.75
252647
885.60
252626
883.91
252384
884.59
252482
883.90
252384
884.87
252523
886.10
252698
885.46
252607
886.84
252806
898.10
254428
Corrected Data / Correction Factors
ΔCm,c/4,sc
0.0000
0.0002
0.0003
0.0007
0.0009
0.0014
0.0018
0.0021
0.0023
0.0018

Cl
0.0024
0.0274
0.0476
0.1172
0.1499
0.2268
0.3057
0.3499
0.3906
0.3021

Lift
Coefficient
0.0025
0.0286
0.0497
0.1225
0.1567
0.2371
0.3198
0.3662
0.4091
0.3207

Drag
Coefficient
0.0162
0.0152
0.0105
0.0152
0.0152
0.0172
0.0209
0.0236
0.0285
0.1040

Corrected
Velocity
38.98
38.98
38.94
38.96
38.94
38.96
38.99
38.97
39.01
39.26

ΔCl,sc
-0.0001
-0.0007
-0.0011
-0.0028
-0.0036
-0.0054
-0.0073
-0.0084
-0.0093
-0.0073

Cdu
0.0107
0.0097
0.0050
0.0097
0.0097
0.0117
0.0154
0.0181
0.0230
0.0984

Cd
0.0104
0.0094
0.0049
0.0095
0.0094
0.0113
0.0150
0.0175
0.0222
0.0941

Table 4

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Cl versus Angle of Attack

2.5000

Force Measurement Method (Lab 3)
Pressure Method (Lab 2)

2.0000

Xfoil Results
NACA Data (Re=130000)
1.5000

Naca Data (Re=330000)

Cl

1.0000

0.5000

0.0000
-4.00

-2.00

0.00

2.00

4.00

6.00

8.00

10.00

12.00

-0.5000
Angle of Attack (Degrees)
Figure 1

Figure 1 contains the various lift coefficients versus angle of attack for all the methods described
previously, as well as the previous lab session.

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0.0400

Cd versus Angle of Attack
Force Measurement Method (Lab 3)

0.0350

Xcode Results
NACA 0012 (Re=170000)

0.0300

NACA 0012 (Re=330000)

Cd

0.0250

0.0200

0.0150

0.0100

0.0050

0.0000
-4.00

-2.00

0.00

2.00
4.00
Angle of Attack

6.00

8.00

10.00

Figure 2

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L/D versus Angle of Attack
100
Force Measurement Method (Lab 3)
Xfoil Results
80

NACA 0012 (Re=170000)
NACA 0012 (Re=330000)

60

L/D

40

20

0
-4

-2

0

2

4

6

8

10

-20

-40
Angle of Attack
Figure 3

Discussion and Conclusions
Comparing the lift coefficient curves plotted in figure 1, the pressure measurement method
most closely matches the NACA data. The worst method was the force measurement technique, which
was the only method that did not recognize zero lift at a zero angle of attack. The Reynolds number had
very little effect on the lift coefficient.
The best method for determining the drag coefficient is the force measurement method. As
Reynolds number increases, the amount of drag decreases.
The accuracy of the computer simulation is dubious. The software would not solve reliably, and
several data points were off the charts.
The force measurement method should not be the recommended procedure for determining
the lift and drag coefficients due to the poor control and lack of repeatability.

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12

References

“Aerodynamics Lab 3 – Direct Measurement of Airfoil Lift and Drag.” Handout

Raw Data
Aero Lab 1
Fall 07
p
t
row
u
q
V

99100
23
1.165950252
1.82773E-05
867.3710308
38.57246947

R=
b=
S=

287
0.000001458
110.4

T=
c=
Re=
span=
Aref

296.15
0.1016
250000
0.3016
0.030643

Data Set 1
Angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

experimental
angle
-4
-2
-0.25
2
4
6
8
10
12

experimental
q
868
868
867
865
866
867
864
868
867

Lift
-0.25
-0.065
0.132
0.241
0.577
0.858
0.992
1.09
0.81

Drag
-0.051
-0.043
-0.028
-0.035
-0.042
-0.054
-0.063
-0.075
-0.295

experimental
angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

experimental
q
869
868
868
867
868
868
869
867
868

Lift
0.135
0.15
0.348
0.583
0.718
0.849
0.923
1.097
0.817

Drag
-0.04
-0.038
-0.041
-0.044
-0.05
-0.057
-0.058
-0.077
-0.299

Data Set 2
Angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Data Set 3

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Angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

experimental
angle
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12

experimental
q
867
868
866
867
867
868
867
867
868

Lift
0.135
0.143
0.303
0.425
0.595
0.843
1.005
1.075
0.93

Drag
-0.038
-0.04
-0.04
-0.042
-0.045
-0.056
-0.067
-0.075
-0.235

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