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ExtendedEssayNoutvanZon

ExtendedEssayNoutvanZon

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HOW CAN AERODYNAMICAL IMPROVEMENTS, SUCH AS ALTERING ANGLE OF ATTACK OR USING WING SWEEP, DECREASE AIRCRAFT GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS

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NOUT VAN ZON Words: 3986

N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l!

Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p

Abstract
Personally I share a very strong passion for aviation, and alerted by the current environmental situation, I wanted to focus my extended essay in that area focussing on decreasing aircraft greenhouse emissions. My research question is the following: How can aerodynamical improvements, such as altering angle of attack or using wing sweep, decrease aircraft greenhouse emissions? The scope of the essay therefore involves both theoretical research and experimental investigation. The primary concept is thus that with a increase in the net lift force, a decrease in drag or a combination of the both it will allow for a decrease in the thrust required and thus the engine’s emissions. I initiated my investigation looking into changing angle of attack and its effect however found that I needed to expand my investigation and thus I changed my focus towards the usage of wing sweep with the goal to decrease aircraft greenhouse emissions. The experiment took place at school using the equipment provided, supplemented by a purchased remote control aircraft. During the experiment air was blown of the wing of the remote control aircraft. Four force sensors, accompanied by software, registered 10 readings per second from which the net lift force was calculated. Out of the experiment I was able to conclude that wing sweep will only have a positive impact when flying at high sub-sonic or supersonic airspeeds. In further investigation I found that at these high airspeeds wing sweep is very effective in reducing drag and thus emissions. Although there is a vast amount of possible methods in reducing aircraft greenhouse emissions, my experiment highlights the method of using wing sweep and it possibility to play a crucial role in decreasing global greenhouse emissions to improve the environment in which we live.

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I have enjoyed sharing my aviation passion with and thereby kept it alive.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Acknowledgments There are many people I wish to thank in assisting me in my investigation surrounding this extended essay.ii - . First off. Needless to say my extended essay supervisor Helen McDonald and the MIS Physics Department have also provided crucial assistance for which I wish to thank them. can not be completed without having a passion and motivation for the issue at hand. I want to thank both of my parents and brothers in motivational aspects. This brings me to the following people with whom. . or any project. I cannot see how aerospace improvement. Furthermore I would like the thank the numerous airline pilots that have let me see the flight deck after landing and have explained many ideas and theories. general ideas and other supportive comments. Secondly I want to thank Pieter Voeten. over the last year. He was the person that explained to be for the first time the lift equation and its implications on flight. a former Airbus and Dash 8 pilot. Oliver Corizzi. and Robert Pladet. Vishal Kumaaresan. with whom I share my aviation passion. Although the list is extensive the main people have been (in no particular order) Nick Maui.

1 - .1 .1.5 .Boeing’s usage of Wing Sweep! Conclusion! References! .1 .N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Table of Contents Abstract Acknowledgments Introduction! Principles of Flight! 1.Connection between Angle of Attack and Trailing-edge flaps.Investigation of Simple Sweep Theory! 3.Introduction to my Experimental Investigation! 2.1.The Experiment: Investigating Wing Sweep! Current Aerodynamic Efficiency Improvements! 3.2 .The Lift Equation! 1.3 .Importance of Angle of Attack! 1.4 .1.2 .! i ii 2 4 4 5 7 7 8 8 9 14 14 16 17 18 Experimental Investigation! 2.1 .Bernoulli's Principle! 1.1.

Web. N. decrease aircraft greenhouse emissions? Figure A (above). .d. <http://www." EyeWitness to History . Direction that the air flow or wind is moving when flowing over the wing’s surface.icao. The airplane will therefore require less engine power (thus less emissions) to remain flying level. 3 "The 4 forces of flight « .com/wph/?cat=3>. <http://vfrontop. N.. An aerodynamic improvement of the wing can be increasing its net lift force. The front edge of a wing is referred to as the leading edge. Although this may seem insignificant. 2010. n.Terms Defined Term (from Figure A) Trailing Edge Leading Edge Flap Definition The rear edge of a wing is referred to as the trailing edge.history through the eyes of those who lived it.Side View of a Wing3 | Figure B (below) .2 - .htm>. such as altering angle of attack or using wing sweep.com/wright.htm>. aircraft emissions differ from other emission sources by the fact that they are released at altitude and create condensation trails. Web. n. This is always horizontal for simplicity. 4 Nov. 4 Nov. <http://www. 1 "The Wright Brothers . 2010.." ICAO | International Civil Aviation Organization.. A surface that enlarges the wing surface area and increases its angle of attack resulting in a net increase in the lift force created by the wing." Free Educational Resources for Pilots.eyewitnesstohistory.p. Angle of Attack Chord Line Relative Air Flow / Relative Wind The angle of attack is the angle between the chord line and the relative wind. 2010.d. contributing to climate change. 4 Nov. The chord line is a straight line drawn between the leading and training edge. Web.d. n. Currently global greenhouse emissions are estimated at a level of 3% originating from aircraft engine emissions2 .int/icao/en/env/aee.p. Current areas of innovation are aerodynamic improvements with the goal to reduce global greenhouse emissions. This extended essay will focus on reducing these emissions through the following research question: How can aerodynamical improvements. 2 "ATB| ATB Sections.First Flight. N.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Introduction We took to the skies in 19031 and since then aircraft manufacturers has placed their main focus on safety and innovation.p. 1903.

Figure C . Web. A trailing edge flap therefore has the purpose of increasing the angle of attack which increases the net lift force (see section 1. 2nd ed." Wikimedia Commons. 8). .Wing Sweep Angle5 4 "Plain Flap Diagram. Figure D . shown on Figure E in red.p.. <http://commons. The relative air flow is shown by the green line.wikimedia. 23 Mar.Trailing Edge Flap 4 My initial investigation looked into how aircraft could manipulate their trailing edge flaps during flight in order to improve aerodynamics.org/wiki/File:Plain_flap_diagram. Term (from Figure E) Wing Sweep / Sweep Angle Definition Wing sweep is the angle between the lateral axis of the wing and the leading edge of the wing. 19 Oct. The primary focus of this extended essay is therefore the usage of wing sweep in achieving aerodynamical improvements.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p On Figure C the red and blue lines show the chord lines.3 - . Print. 2007.svg>. As one can see the angle between the green and blue line (angle of attack) is a lot larger as that in the case of a retracted flap. when the flap is retracted (red) and extended (blue). 5 Principles of Flight (JA310108) (JAA ATPL Library. N. 2007. 2010. mainly found on experimental aircraft from organizations such as NASA.1. Forward swept wings are uncommon. Englewood: Jeppesen. I had discovered a simple concept and wanted to continue my investigation into wing sweep.Terms Defined Figure E . Through investigation and experimentation I found that angle of attack is indeed proportional to the lift force until a specific angle where the lift force reaches a maximum and begins to decrease.5).

n. where the pressure is higher below the wing producing a net force pushing the wing up. Englewood: Jeppesen. Dynamic pressure will primarily change depending on the speed of the body moving through air.1. Figure 1.1 . Static pressure is the pressure resulting from an imaginary column of air above a respective altitude..yesmag.p.d. "Bernoulli.gif>. <http://www. pressure would decrease. <www.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Principles of Flight 1. Web..d. N. 12 July 2010. 7 8 Principles of Flight (JA310108) (JAA ATPL Library. 2nd ed.1. 2010. 8). According to Bernoulli’s Principle a pressure differential is thus created.Bernoulli's Principle Bernoulli first found that velocity was indirectly proportional to air pressure.American Flyers. Thus with increase in velocity. N.18 Streamline air is defined as air that follows the contour of a body.American Flyers. such as a wing. Dynamic pressure is thus a pressure due to motion.7 Figure 1. .ca/focus/flight/bernoulli. 4 Nov." Flight Training . Web." Yes Mag.1.p. n.1.2 6 Bernoulli further found that for any body moving through air both static and dynamic pressure are present and the addition of the two results in a constant.1.3 8 6 "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Chapter 2 . 2007. Due to the shape of the wing where the length of the upper surface is longer than that of the lower surface the streamline air over the upper surface will move faster than that following the lower surface.1.1. Print.4 - .htm>.americanflyers.net/aviationlibrary/pilots_handbook/chapter_2. Bernoulli was able to derive the following formula: P+ 1 2 ρV = static pressure + dynamic pressure = constant (pressure in Nm -2 ) 2 Figure 1.

3 .1.5 - .4 .The Lift Equation There are many factors that affect the magnitude of lift created by a wing.1.1 Wing Surface Area (S) Further Smaller Factors Affecting Lift Wing Planform and Airfoil Section Surface Condition (rough or smooth) Air Viscosity (µ ) Compressibility of the Air Definition: shape and contour of the wing. This will therefore largely effect lift.1. the majority are displayed below: Main Factors Affecting Lift Static & Dynamic Pressure Figure 1.1.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p 1. Definition: as an aircraft reaches supersonic airspeeds.2 Air pressure thus plays an important role in the creation of lift where dynamic pressure plays the larger role.3. Definition: one cause a rough surface can be wing icing. L∝ 1 2 ρv S 2 S = surface area of the wing (m 2 ) Figure 1.1). Definition: this is the internal friction of the air. Therefore.3. drag is increased (explained further in section 3. This can be manipulated during the design phase of the wing.3.1. Figure 1. Since energy due to motion is kinetic energy one can derive dynamic pressure as follows: KE = q= 1 2 mv 2 m = mass (kg) v = velocity of air flowing over the wing (ms-1 ) 1 2 ρv 2 ρ = air density (kgm -3 ) KE = kinetic energy (J) q = dynamic pressure (Nm -2 ) Figure 1. the dynamic pressure must be multiplied by the surface area of the wing to equate the lift force.3.3 Lift is mainly affected by the dynamic pressure of the air and the surface area of the wing. thus the “fluidness” and smoothness of flow.

2007.5) 2 opposite to the gravitational pull force on the aircraft.0 L= 1 L = ρv2S(1. and Brian N.1.3. The Lift Coefficient is therefore a value that changes during flight and can effect the lift by making it negative.3.1. 2010. Figure 1. 11 Note: For example with a Lift Coefficient of 0. Print. Examples of how Lift Coefficient affects the Net Lift Force LIFT COEFFICIENT E Q U AT I O N R E S U LT I N G N E T L I F T F O R C E Negative (aircraft sinks as negative lift force in addition to the gravitational pull force creates a large net force downwards). Zero (aircraft sinks because gravitational pull force creates a net force downwards). Brian D. 8 Feb.2) are represented by a Lift Coefficient ( C L ). Nield. The smaller factors effecting lift (shown in figure 1. zero or positive11 (see Figure 1." Aero Magazine Winter 10 2000: 7. "Understanding Angle of Attack. AERO Magazine. Englewood: Jeppesen. 2nd ed. . the lift would be zero because the entire formula is multiplied by 0. Web.0 to 2.1.. Positive (aircraft remains level if lift force is equal and 1.3. Kelly.5 L= 1 2 ρv S(−0. thus: Final Lift Equation: 1 L = ρv2SCL 2 L = net lift force (N) v = air velocity (ms-2 ) ρ = air density (kgm -3 ) S = wing surface area (m 2 ) Figure 1.1.2) effect the shape of the Angle of Attack vs.5) 2 1 2 ρv S(0) 2 0.4). John E.5 9 -1.6 9 Principles of Flight (JA310108) (JAA ATPL Library. The Lift Coefficient is calculated by plotting the Angle of Attack vs. the Lift Coefficient and then reading the value of the graph for the corresponding Angle of Attack. the Lift Coefficient graph (see section 1.5 -0. 8).3.3.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p For simplicity all small factors affecting lift (see figure 1.6).1.1. Cashman.0 is the approximate range of the Lift Coefficient 10 and varies as the angle of attack of the aircraft changes. It will climb if the lift force is larger than the gravitational pull force).6 - .

Figure 1. 2010.1 12 1. This will occur when the angle of attack is at a specific angle (an example stall angle is shown on Figure 1.1. N. 2010. This will increase the lift coefficient (until it reaches the stall angle) and thus increase the lift force that the wing produces. Web.2). 4 Nov..2 13 12 "Coefficient of lift. The principles of Angle of Attack are key in the usage of trailing-edge flaps on aircraft wings. Web. . N. Figure 1.4.1.Importance of Angle of Attack Angle of attack is key to aerodynamic performance as it is an indication of the lift coefficient. Angle of Attack must be known to calculate Lift Coefficient and has the symbol α .7 - ." TeachersParadise. 2007.com | Teacher Supplies | Printables | School Supplies.p.1. 13 "Plain Flap Diagram.p.d. This allows the aircraft to slow down to land safely whilst maintaining enough lift to remain aloft. <http://commons. 23 Mar.1)..com/ency/en/wikipedia/c/co/coefficient_of_lift. <http://www. To recall.4.wikimedia.html>. trailing-edge flaps are slid out of the wing and are tilted downwards.org/wiki/File:Plain_flap_diagram.1.4. As the flap tilts downwards the angle of attack is increased (see figure 1.Connection between Angle of Attack and Trailing-edge flaps.1. A stall occurs when air flowing over a wing stops following the wings streamline and thus not creating lift. n. As the flap slides out of the wing the surface increases.1.teachersparadise." Wikimedia Commons.svg>.5 .N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p 1. 19 Oct.4 . increasing the lift created by the wing.4.

The set-up can be seen on the picture below: Power pack used to supply the propellor (wind source) with a significantly more constant Aircraft Wing Wind Source power level than a battery.com/single-engine/skylane. Web. In my set-up I use a remote control airplane model of the Cessna 182 14. To use the aircraft most effectively. n.Experimental Set-Up 14 Note: The real Cessna 182 is a general aviation aircraft.cessna. N. built for hobby pilots with a capacity of four passengers - Source: "Skylane. For both experiments I was able to use the same set-up. the wing was dismounted and used for testing purposes.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Experimental Investigation 2. . <http://www.d.1 .1. Auxiliary Force Sensors (used for support of the wing structure) Force Sensor A Force Sensor B DataStudio software taking in measurements Figure 2.p.1 .Introduction to my Experimental Investigation As explained in the introduction.." Cessna Aircraft Company.8 - .html>. I could not write about the angle of attack experiment due to word limit. I had initiated by investigation by looking into angle of attack then changing to wing sweep. 2010. 4 Nov. whereas the fuselage with the propellordriven engine on it was used as a wind source.

Web.d.. The software application DataStudio16 takes 10 recordings from either force sensors for 30 seconds.p. There is thus an uncertainty involved however one that is much lower than what you would have using the battery. decreasing the random error of the force sensors. <http://www.Diagram showing how I set the Wing Sweep (independent variable). This gives me 300 readings from each force sensor per setting of the wing sweep (independent variable). without passing through the remote control and battery system. because the interface did not support more than three sensors. with an equation which is then entered into Numbers (Apple’s spreadsheet software) which calculates the force for each of the 300 readings.0 . 15 16 Only two force sensors were connected.9 - . the other one on the right. N. The aircraft engine is connected directly to the power supply.com/datastudio/>. "PASCO : DataStudio. . using my knowledge of torques. Figure 2.The Experiment: Investigating Wing Sweep The wing is balanced on four force sensors. n. 2010." PASCO : Home. one is on the left of the wing. of which two are connected to the computer via a Pasco interface15.2 .2. instead of a slowly decreasing power supply as the battery depletes in capacity. The edge of the supporting structure was then aligned with the desired angle. Out of the two connected. Because the wing’s leading edge was placed parallel to the supporting structure’s edge the protractor reflected its wing sweep. 4 Nov. This is done to obtain a significantly more constant power supply.pasco. My aim is to investigate the effect of changing wing sweep on the net lift force. The propellor direction is reversed so that the wind is propelled forward towards the wing.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p 2. The lift force is calculated. I expect that an increase in wing sweep will increase the net lift force. A protractor was placed under the wing supporting structure.

Calculated in the same way as above.Definitions of the constants used in the table below = Wing Center Line Dist ance XB Dis Dist tance X ance XA ow Air Fl Force Sensor B Force Sensor A Figure 2. BOTTOM (see the table headings) This length is shown in centimeters and depicts the length of the lower surface of the wing from the leading to the trailing edge.2. This was calculated during my control experiment by taking 300 readings of the weight on this force sensor and then averaging the result. Distance X The distance between the center point of the wing and the point on the wing where the wind flows over. Weight B The weight on Force Sensor B when no wind is flowing over the wing.1 .N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Constant Weight A Definition The weight the Force Sensor A when no wind is flowing over the wing. Figure 2.2.Depiction of distances and weights used in calculations . Distance XB The distance between the center point of the wing and the position of Force Sensor B. Distance XA The distance between the center point of the wing and the position of Force Sensor A.10 - .2 . TOP (see the table headings) This length is shown in centimeters and depicts the length of the upper surface of the wing from the leading to the trailing edge.

2.4 .2.11 - .2. Shows the first 2 seconds for wing sweep angles of -20 to -05° for Force Sensor A Figure 2. using the equation on the following page.3 .3 and 2.2. 17 Note: Full table of results is found in the appendix .4 both depict a small portion of the results table for their respective force sensors17.2.2.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Figure 2. Figure 2. Subsequent columns (labelled Lift Force) are found in Figure 2.3 that shows the calculated lift force of the wing at the specified time.Small portion of the results table.1 explains all constants stated in these tables.Small portion of the results table. Shows the first 2 seconds for wing sweep angles of -20 to -05° for Force Sensor B Figure 2.

1 ± 0. thus torques were involved. Factors such as parallax and the scale of the protractor were taken into account.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p F= 2 (WEIGHT (A) − FORCE(A)) ( X A ) + 2 ( FORCE(B) − WEIGHT (B)) ( X B ) X During the experiment the wing pivoted about its center point. 18 Note: Length X is defined in Figure 2. Differently on the other side of the wing. This will result in a positive value.1 1.2 1.0 1. Force Sensor A was on the side where the wing banked up and thus subtracting the force reading from the weight (from control experiment) will give a negative value as the force reading was higher than the weight.1 as Distance X .12 - . which moved down.1 ± 0.1 1.1 1.1 ± 0.1 ± 0.1 ± 0.1 Explanation of Uncertainty Calculations Wing Sweep: this uncertainty was calculated by myself during evaluation of the design. Average Lift Force: this uncertainty was calculated by calculating the individual percentage uncertainties of all values used in the equation stated above.1 1.1 ± 0. By first multiplying by two (because there were two sensors on each side).1 1.1 ± 0.0 1.1 ± 0.1 ± 0.1 1. to one significant figure.1 ± 0. I subtracted the weight from the force reading (at force sensor B). adding the two calculated values and finally dividing by length X18 one gets the resulting net lift force.0 1. Summarizing my calculated data from the table: SWEEP ANGLE (°) UNCERTAINTY in SWEEP ANGLE (°) AVERAGE LIFT FORCE (N) UNCERTAINTY IN AVERAGE LIFT FORCE (N) -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 ±2 1.1 ± 0. These individual percentage uncertainties were summed up and the resulting percentage was applied to the average lift force value.2.

my first experiment 20 was able to reflect real world data thus supporting the accuracy of the set-up. Hence I can make the following conclusions: • Negative wing sweep is not beneficial for aerodynamic performance improvements based on my experiment. There were however many variables that were not controlled 100% affecting the precision of the results. The maximum lift force was created when the wing sweep was at 0° in my experiment. there is a visible trend that as the wing sweep nears 0° from -20° the aerodynamic performance improves. In evaluation of my experiment. 19 20 ± 2.0° .13 - . The uncertainty I give it is tude of readings taken.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Plotting a graph I get the following: Figure 2. reducing random error. which I did not have access to. only a very slight decrease in lift is observed. At positive wing sweep angles there does not seem to be a strong correlation. This was done with a protractor that was taped to the table and then the wing was angled manually using the protractor as a guide. The largest uncertainty was the calculation of the angle.2 .Graph representing the relationship between Wing Sweep and Lift Force 19 The initial observation that I made is that at wing sweep angles lower that 0° the resultant lift force is significantly lower than that of positive angles. These variables can be controlled much better with the use of a full scale wind tunnel. • Above 0° of wing sweep. The uncertainties for the wind speed and the calculation of force using the force sensors are very small due to the multi- Note: graph was created using the Logger Pro software Note: this experiment was not written about due to the word limit . Disregarding the lift force at a wing sweep of 5°. As a result I extended my research to investigate real world observations and research and compare that to my results.2.

however at transonic and supersonic speeds this can no longer occur. and thus the effects of compressibility start to be experienced. Boeing uses wing sweep primarily to reduce drag in high sub-sonic flight. There are two major effects of compressibility.22 2. Mach 1 reflects flying at 100% of the speed of sound. listed below." Welcome to VisWiki!.com/en/sweep_theory>. Mach 2 therefore re- flects an airspeed of 200% of the speed of sound. The “theory of compressibility” is a set of side effects arising as a result of the changes in airflow from an incompressible a compressible fluid as supersonic speeds are approached.d. All rights reserved. 21 “The Effect of High Altitude and Center of Gravity on The Handling Characteristics of Swept-wing Commercial Airplanes” © 1998 The Boeing Company. N.viswiki. Wave Drag A sudden rise in drag caused by air building up in front of the aircraft. At slow speeds the air has enough time to get around the aircraft in a streamline manner. 1. During World War Two. It seems that wing sweep only starts having an effect when reaching super-sonic speeds. In effect the air now directly hits the aircraft causing extreme amounts of drag.Investigation of Simple Sweep Theory Research coming out of my experiment has led me to investigate how major air-framers such as Boeing use wing sweep in their designs for large commercial aircraft.14 - . 22 "VisWiki .N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Current Aerodynamic Efficiency Improvements 3.p. .. <http://www. 23 Definition: Mach is a unit of airspeed.Sweep Theory. The principle idea of wing sweep is thus to delay the time until which the effects of compressibility are experienced allowing the aircraft to fly at faster speeds and without wave drag thus improving aerodynamic performance and decreasing greenhouse emissions.1 .21 To fully understand the effects of wing sweep on an aircraft’s aerodynamic performance one must first understand the theory of compressibility. pilots reported a loss of control and stability and the inability to fly any faster due to the immense amounts of drag resulting from compressibility. 1 Sept. 2010. Critical Mach The critical mach is the mach speed23 at which some of the air passing over the wing becomes supersonic. Web. n.

Straight wing of infinite length The airflow passes the wing at right angles to the leading edge of the wing and thus the air pressure distribution can be labelled as d. also called the spanwise flow has no effect on the pressure distribution and lift creation. The parallel component (orange).3.15 - .2 .Swept wing of infinite length In a swept wing the airflow does not pass the wing at a right angle to the leading edge but instead at an angle. Therefore wing sweep delays the effects of compressibility. . dS > d As a result the air pressure is distributed over a larger area.1 . As the sweep angle increases (α) the perpendicular component shortens. This allows the aircraft to fly at higher speeds before the wing experiences airflow at the critical mach.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Imagine a straight wing of infinite length. thus the pressure distribution is increased to ds. The perpendicular component is responsible for creating lift. One can break the airflow component into two components: perpendicular (green) and parallel (orange) to the wing. as the airflow reaches the critical mach after the aircraft does at a higher airspeed than without wing sweep. shown below: AIRFLOW d Figure 3. α AIRFLOW α N ds Figure 3. As a result the wing experiences an airflow at lower speeds and pressures lower than what the actual aircraft experiences.3.

The drag remains constant until speeds accelerate to high sub-sonic airspeeds. higher wing sweep angles produce less drag. What is very interesting however is that below approximately Mach 0. This allows airplanes to cruise at higher Mach numbers before reaching the critical Mach number at which shock waves begin to form on the wing and [wave] drag rises significantly. . and thus a decrease the drag leads directly to a decrease in emissions as less thrust is needed to oppose the drag. United States Navy. Figure 3.3 . and hence the relatively constant lift force observed is confirmed by the graph above and the research I have done. The large spike is noticeably highest with a sweep angle of 0° and depicts the wave drag due to compressibility.”25 In conclusion Boeing uses wing sweep. very effectively to make their aircraft aerodynamically efficient. Quickly noticeable is that between Mach 1 and Mach 2 (100% and 200% of the speed of sound).3. Print. All rights reserved.Boeing’s usage of Wing Sweep “All Boeing transport models use wing sweep to minimize high-speed cruise drag. Hence. “The Effect of High Altitude and Center of Gravity on The Handling Characteristics of Swept-wing Commercial Airplanes” © 1998 The Boeing Company. therefore my experiment did indeed reflect reality regarding slow aircraft.16 - . due to the shortening of the perpendicular component which creates the lift force. 8th ed.8. wing sweep has no positive effect on aircraft not flying at high sub-sonic or supersonic airspeeds.24 The above graph clearly shows the effect of wing sweep on the drag created by the wing. 24 25 “High-Speed Flight” T-45 Aerodynamics Student Workbook. 3. 2009. the aircraft will produce less lift at lower speeds and thus takeoff and landing procedures must be flown with an increased angle of attack to regain the loss in lift due to the wing sweep.2 . Drag is directly proportional to aircraft emissions.Effect of Sweep Angle on drag at high super-sonic speeds. The wind source in my experiment was not at high sub-sonic speeds. The wind speed was definitely within the low range of Mach speed.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p However. different wing sweep angles have no effect on the drag.

Aerodynamical improvements in order to decrease global greenhouse emissions is therefore to an extent achievable with the usage of trailing edge flaps in small general aviation aircraft and the subsequent usage of wing sweep in large sub-sonic passenger aircraft. My experimental and theoretical research has looked into realistic methods of achieving this goal. it can decrease drag. including the usage of trailing edge flaps and wing sweep. improving aerodynamics. The current state of the environment is in high demand of improvement. to increase the lift force created by an aircraft’s wing improving aerodynamical efficiency and thereby reducing aircraft emissions. as that of small general aviation aircraft. . decrease aircraft greenhouse emissions? The demand to decrease global greenhouse emissions is rapidly increasing as we enter the second decennia of the millennium. My experimental investigation has shown that the usage of wing sweep has no significant effect at low speeds.N o u t v a n Z o n! M u n i c h I n t e r n a t i o n a l S c h o o l! Physics Extended Essay A e r o d y n a m i c s : A n g l e o f A t t a c k a n d Wi n g S w e e p Conclusion In my conclusion I would like start with referring back to the research question regarding this extended essay: How can aerodynamical improvements. Trailing edge flaps can be used. such as altering angle of attack or using wing sweep.17 - . during cruise flight. There are of course many other methods of further achieving improving aerodynamics that go beyond the scope of this extended essay. Although wing sweep is only effective at high sub-sonic and supersonic speeds. The general concept remains that an increase in net lift force allows for a decrease in engine thrust and thus emissions. With large jet aircraft as the Boeing 777 however it can be very effective in reducing greenhouse emissions.

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