Supersonic Aerodynamics:
Richard Seebass

Lift and Drag

John R. WoodhullProfessor and Chair, AerospaceEngineeringSciences Campus Box 429 University of Colorado Boulder CO 80303-0429, USA

Introduction We briefly review here the fundamentals of generating lift, and what this costs us in inviscid drag at supersonic speeds in the context of the optimum aerodynamic design. The supersonic area rule tells us how to determine the wave drag and this leads to the minimum possible inviscid drag for a supersonic aircraft. We understand from this, then, the trade-off between induced drag and wave drag due to lift. Finally, viscous effects are considered briefly. These determine the altitude at which the aircraft will fly and this sets its CL and thereby its aerodynamic performance. Lift and Drag If we consider a flat plate airfoil, at angle of attack, OL, in a flow of subsonic Mach number M, with p2 = lA# 1 I, then its lift is

Here L is the lift, distributed elliptically, s is the wing span, and o the dynamic pressure. At supersonic speeds the same flat plate airfoil gives a lift coefficient of Cl = 4cY/p. In this case there is no possibility of leading edge suction. The pressure coefficient is uniform and of equal magnitude, but opposite sign, on each side of the plate. So we must accept the resulting drag of ac/ that drives from the waves this airfoil sends to infinity:

n bva”e= PL2/4,
but we now have no induced drag.

Since the pressure must be normal to this flat plate one would expect a component of drag with cd = acl. And yet we know that in two-dimensional subsonic flow the inviscid drag is zero. How can this be? If we consider the leading edge of the flat plate to be a small circle of radius E, then we may using conformal mapping to compute the force on this circle and the flat plate. If we then let E-+ 0, the result is, as we know, that the leading edge thrust precisely offsets the drag due to the plate’s inclination. So we escape drag due to lift in two-dimensional subsonic flows. But wings must be finite in span, so we next consider this effect. The wing’s lift must be distributed elliptically along its span to minimize the drag that derives from the axial momentum lost to the swirling motion of the wing tip vortices. This itself derives from the pressure difference between the lower and upper surface. This we call the induced drag:
Copyright permission. 0 1998 by the author. Published here with the author’s

Busemann,‘x2 and later Jones,3s4were the first to point out that, for supersonic flow over an infinite swept wing, it is the normal velocity component that matters. Thus infinite yawed wings with their leading edges swept sufficiently behind the Mach cone (subsonic leading edges) can avoid this wave drag. Again, the tilt of the lift vector is overcome by leading edge suction. For a finite wing not all of the theoretically available suction can be realized. How much can be realized depends on, among other variables such as sweep and leading edge radius, the Reynolds number. See Carlson’ for a recent review of this subject. Of course we cannot have infinite wings in supersonic flow either and, consequently, with subsonic leading edges we will have induced drag and wave drag. Sweeping a single wing is more advantageous than considering the wing to have two halves, both of which are swept back or swept forward. As R. T.

Paper presented at the RTO AVT Course on “Fluid Dynamics Research on Supersonic Aircrfi”, held in Rhode-Saint-Gendse, Belgium, 25-29 May 1998, and published in RTO EN-4.

128qV* -. appropriately adjusted for the variation of the component of the force lying in the 8 = constant plane. 4 % (1) . We recognize this expression as the induced drag of the wing in the flow normal to it. I. Thus the first term represents the skin friction drag which we may accurately approximate by the turbulent drag on a flat plate of the same area and average streamwise chord. 1. projected onto a plane normal to the free stream. For each azimuthal angle the cross-sectional area of the equivalent body of revolution is given by the sum of two quantities: the cross-sectional area created by the oblique section from the tangent to the fore Mach cone’s intersection with the aircraft. These bodies of revolution are defined by the cuts through the aircraft made by the tangents to the fore Mach cone from a distant point aft of the aircraft at an azimuthal angle 8. The third and fourth terms are the wave drag due to lift and the wave drag due to volume. L2 D = qSfCf+2+-+ ws P2L2 2 w’. This drag is given by: Fig.s 0 0 S”(~)lOgj2(X- E)I& plus terms that are multiplied by s’(I). The drag of a supersonic wing with subsonic leading edges and an elliptic spanwise loading can be expressed using our theoretical understanding of drag at supersonic speeds. where Vis the wing’s volume. Here Sr is the wetted area. and its length I. 1. The second term is the induced drag for an elliptically loaded wing. are the averages over all azimuthal angles of the individual lengths of the equivalent bodies of revolution.L-L Jones observed best compromise ward sweep. This average is over all azimuthal angles. that is as L*/(Jrq. This is the same as saying that each equivalent body of revolution should be a K&man ogive. The two lengths. which is the shape that minimizes the fore-body drag of a body of revolution of given base area. and Cr is the average skin friction coefficient. Courtesy H. then &D/q = / S”(*)d\. Sobieczky. If we let its cross-sectional area be S(x). lying in the 8 = constant plane. as shown in Fig. and normal to the free stream. and a term proportional to the component of force on the contour of this oblique cut. long ago. Wave Drag The supersonic area rule tells us that the wave drag of an aircraft in a steady supersonic flow is identical to the average wave drag of a series of equivalent bodies of revolution.6s7 The minimum wave drag associated with a given lift requires that all oblique loadings projected by the Mach planes be elliptical. and I. where qn is the dynamic pressure of the normal flow and 6 is the unswept wing’s span.#). an oblique wing is the between forward sweep and back- The wave drag of a body of revolution is easily computed. Fore Mach cone (above) and its intersection with an oblique wing aircraft (below).

and consider its apex to be at a large radial (and thereby axial) location. that is. the fact that the wing must incline its lift vector slightly to offset the leading edge suction which occurs on only one side of the wing. this equation becomes that for its tangent plane. in a line that makes an angle. cp. For the minimum wave drag due to volume each equivalent body must be a Sears-Haack body. that is. (4) We should note here that the large sweep approximation. the loading in each oblique plane must be elliptical.e. for each azimuthal angle. With an elliptical spanwise load. and volume. if all sections of wing were parabolic. the volume in Eq. Then we may rewrite Eq. The drag arising from the lift of an elliptic wing. To calculate these lengths we must determine the angle at which the tangent to the Mach cone cuts the plane of the wing. then for the same caliber body as the Sears-Haack body. The lengths in the last two terms are the average over all azimuthal angles of the effective length for lift. each area distribution of the equivalent body of revolution due to volume would be the product of an elliptic and a parabolic distribution and the wave drag of the wing would be a minimum for given volume. for the inviscid flow past a lifting line.13 For a wing with a subsonic leading edge m is less than 1. that is for m << 1. The lengths of the chords cut by parailel planes on an elliptic planform are distributed elliptically. then the drag due to lift is predominately induced drag. we also know the length of the equivalent body of revolution for that plane is I(O) = bsinh-~coshsin0 As noted earlier. wing has the minimum inviscid drag for a given lift.. (2) and (3) to determine the inviscid drag for an oblique lifting line. the caliber of the equivalent body. every loading projected by the oblique Mach planes is also elliptical. to find the now classical results of an oblique wing: 1 -=‘I2 1 2n 2x S 0 (cow2de /2(e) (2) (3) = 2b4( sinh)4( 1 -m 2 7/2’ ) where m = p coth. i. Smith’lnoted that the Sears-Haack area distribution is the product of an elliptic distribution and a parabolic distribution. The linear resuit for an arbitrary elliptic wing is more com- . the equivalent body of revolution in each azimuthal plane is a K&man ogive. if we minimize the wing’s thickness. but ignore. elliptically loaded. We recognize.This gives. If we write down the expression for the fore Mach cone depicted in Fig. In practical cases this results in wing plane inclination of less than two degrees. I5 We may use Eqs. given by tancp = $sin6. the sum of the induced drag and wave drag due to lift. for the minimum wave drag due to lift. (1) is reduced by 4(8/g). This plane intersects the horizontal plane and thereby the wing.2-3 Oblique Wing Aerodynamics with the y-axis. as determined by the supersonic area rule. Now that we know the angle cut by the tangent to the Mach cone.14And this theory can be used to show that an oblique. t2. We may then determine the two lengths II and I. which in the case of an oblique wing is its streamwise length. 1. can also be determined by applying Kogan’s theory. For simplicity we assume that the wing lies in a horizontal plane.8 This is readily realized in an oblique wing with an elliptic planform. Thus.gs’O This minimizes the wave drag for a given volume.(l) in the classical form for minimum drag:‘” L2 +-+-+-* 2 nqs P2L7 2nqe2 128qV2 lce4 Dmin = 4SfCf (5) Here I! is the aircraft’s length.

12 0.12 0. a weight upon entering cruise of 1. we must first determine the appropriate Reynolds numbers and develop a table of C. a 550 foot span. although the increased CL means a lower inviscid LLD.0 75.we can write for the drag: D/L = (D/L)inviscid + 2Cf/CD.068. To determine the density and viscosity in. twist variation along the wing span. Viscous Effects We may approximate the viscous drag by that on a flat plate of equivalent wetted area. and a weight upon leaving cruise of 0. S. c)C.0 ’ 34 UD \ 32 3230 3028 2626 . The proper wing cross-section area distribution then gives the minimum wave drag due to volume or thickness.0 80.” Given this reference temperature.20 b 1 ’ (6) 0. and thereby the freestream Reynolds number for a given flight altitude. and indeed the Reynolds number for.0 55.068. The streamwise chord used was the mean chord divided by cash. We may improve UD by flying higher and thereby reducing skin friction drag because g is lower. lnviscid L/D as a function of: a)CL for h = 60°.0 ’ 60.08 “ 0.0 ho ’ 70.74 CL 0.70 0. previous design studies’7~20~21 suggest an OFW with a lo:1 axis ratio.758 square feet.76 0.13. 3.14 0. Because viscous drag is 2$X$ where C. 2.2 million pounds. Such an aircraft might accommodate 800 passengers.140 cubic feet. We assume here that the wing is at the recovery temperature.14 0. and with a maximum thickness of 19% gives a volume of 124. or bending the wing up at the tips.10 0.17 An oblique elliptic wing simultaneously provides large span and large lifting length. is needed.9 million pounds.16 0.0’ 50.76 CL Fig. and L = qSCL. The mid-cruise weight would be 1.72 0. gives maximum viscous Vo. and determine the skin friction drag. For an oblique wing we may use twice the planform area as the wetted area with good accuracy. Fig. Aircraft fly whenever possible at the altitude that. maximizes L/D. and thereby what CL. and a maximum chord of 55 feet. of 23. 2 provides the inviscid UD for an el22 27 uD20 19 18 liptic planform oblique wing with a 1O:l axis ratio as a function of C and sweep as determined by Euler computations. 12. The reduction in the drag for an oblique wing of finite span comes from being able to provide the optimum distribution of lift and volume in all oblique planes.18 0.5 million pounds. 2b From this we conclude that for inviscid flow the optimum occurs with a sweep of about 68 degrees at CL = 0. 0. b) h for CL = .06 0.70 To be specific. The studies of Rawdon et aL2’ suggest an estimated takeoff weight of 1.0 ’ 65. . Here we follow PetersonI in applying the T’method of Sommer and ShortI to determine the skin friction on a flat plate at supersonic Mach numbers. To determine what altitude. T! This we may determine for a given wall temperature from Peterson.575 million pounds.2-4 plex. the boundary layer we need an appropriate reference temperature. we may construct Fig. 0. for h = 68’. To achieve an elliptic load distribution. This gives a planform area. considering viscous effects.is the average skin friction coefficient.

h. Knowledge of induced drag and the area rule makes it possible to determine the inviscid drag of the aerodynamically optimum aircraft.800 cubic feet and the altitude to be 42. We have reduced inviscid L/D from its maximum of 35. 4: Lift coefficient. as a function of altitude.001523.5 million pounds upon entering cruise. to fly higher.42. This maximum MUD is for the untrimmed aircraft. .= 0. We see that for this aerodynamic optimum aircraft the viscous drag is 58%.(h) needed to fly at that altitude. AS Fig. Equation (6) then provides D/L as a function of altitude as shown in Fig. The L/D of 16. we can determine the C. Given the flight altitude of 41. the induced drag is 22%. The drag due to lift is 27%. and more direct- The simplest and most important components of the drag of aerodynamic optimum supersonic aircraft have been delineated. They are important in determining the aircraft’s flight altitude and cruise lift coefficient. and given the aircraft’s weight.versus flight altitude. as a function of flight altitude. This corresponds to an MUD of 23. D/L. Freestream and reference temperature Reynolds number and C.5. For this optimized aircraft nearly 60% of its drag is skin friction drag. Some drag penalty will be incurred by trimming the aircraft.0 to 28.300 feet and Cr. which is close to the linear theory optimum of 25. with most of this due to volume. the volume to be 85. h. Summary or 16. but we have improved the viscous L/D by nearly 10%.000 feet. Using Eq.062 30000 35000 * 40000 45000 Mm=d2. skin friction coefficient and drag-to lift ratio.0 depicted in Fig. 4 depicts. Knowing C. down from the value of 35.420 pounds..05 (wave-lift)+ 0. We then analyze the flow under these conditions to find a new value for the inviscid L/D of 28.221 (’ Induced)+ 0.h=680 30000 35000 h 40000 45000 Fig. we calculate the turbulent skin friction drag on a flat plate. Fig. just over 20% is induced drag. 4. Equation (6) then gives us the viscous L/D. the other terms to conclude that the drag in pounds is: D = 73.5 *10310. here CL = 0. and just under 20% is wave drag.1221 and C.the viscous drag is determined to be 37.2 million pounds.4 by increasing C.6 is nearly double the maximum L/D for swept wing aircraft of the same swept span and length. 0. 3. 2c. Less than 30% of the drag is due to lift.147 (wave-volume)]. For nominal conditions we might take the weight to be 1.6 to the accuracy with which we might believe this result. (1) and the nominal conditions.583(skin friction)+ 0. fy. Viscous effects may be estimated using flat plate skin friction coefficients. the viscous drag-to-lift ratio is a minimum at 41.300 feet.2. and the wave drag is 20%. say 1.5 *103 = 73.

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