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Although we have seen the Bernoulli equation and seen it derived before, this
next note shows its derivation for an uncompressible & inviscid flow. The
derivation follows that of Kuethe &Chow most closely (I like it better than
Anderson).
1
Start from inviscid, incompressible momentum equation
1 u
u u p
t ρ
∂
+ ⋅ ∇ = − ∇
∂
There is a vector calculus identity:
( )
2
,
1
2
vorticity
u u u u u
ω
 
• ∇ = ∇ − × ∇×

\ .
2 1 1
2
u
u p u
t
ω
ρ
∂
 
⇒ + ∇ + ∇ = ×

∂
\ .
From here, we can make the final rearrangement:
2 1
2
u
p u u
t
ρ ρ ω ρ
∂
 
∇ + = × −

∂
\ .
Two common applications:
1. Steady irrotational flow
0 0
Irrotational
Steady
u
t
ω
∂
= =
∂
2
2
1
0
2
1
.
2
p u
p u const for entire flow
ρ
ρ
 
⇒ ∇ + =

\ .
⇒ + =
1
Kuethe and Chow, 5
th
Ed. Sec 3.33.5
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 2
2. Steady but rotational flow
0 0
Rotational
Steady
u
t
ω
∂
= ≠
∂
2 1
2
p u u ρ ρ ω
 
⇒ ∇ + = ×

\ .
This is a vector equation. If we dot product this into the streamwise
direction:
← ≡
u
u
s
streamwise direction
( )
( )
2
0,
2
2
1
2
1
0
2
1
.
2
u u
s p u s u
d
p u
ds
p u const along streamline
ω
ρ ρ ω
ρ
ρ
= × ⊥
 
⇒ • ∇ + = • ×

\ .
 
⇒ + =

\ .
⇒ + =
Vortex Panel Methods
2
Step#1: Replace airfoil surface with panels
Step #2: Distribute singularities on each panel with unknown strengths
In our case we will use vortices distributed such that their strength varies linearly
from node to node:
Recall a point vortex at the origin is:
1
tan
2 2
y
x
φ θ
π π
−
Γ Γ
 
= − = −

\ .
2
Kuethe and Chow, 5
th
Ed. Sec. 5.10
1 2
3 4
m
m+1
i1
i
i+1
Original airfoil mpanels (m+1 nodes)
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 3
A point vortex at y x ˆ , ˆ is:
1
ˆ
tan
ˆ 2
y y
x x
φ
π
−
Γ −
 
= −

−
\ .
Next, consider an arbitrary panel:
At any
j
s , we will place a vortex with strength
( )
j
s ds γ :
( )
1
ˆ ( )
, tan
ˆ 2
j j
j
s ds y y
d x y
x x
γ
φ
π
−
  −
⇒ = −


−
\ .
where
( )
1
1
ˆ ( )
ˆ
j
j j j j
j
j
j j j j
j
s
x x x x
S
s
y y y y
S
+
+
≡ + −
≡ + −
Thus, the potential at any ( , ) x y due to the entire panel j is:
( )
( )
1
0
ˆ
, tan
ˆ 2
j
S
j j
j
j
s y y
x y ds
x x
γ
φ
π
−
  −
≡ −


−
\ .
∫
We will assume linear varying γ on each panel:
( ) ( )
1
j
j j j j
j
s
s
S
γ γ γ γ
+
= + −
s
j
S
j
γ(s
j
)
ds
j
Vortex of strength
γ(s
j
)ds
j+1
j
(x
j
,y
j
)
(x
j+1
,y
j+1
)
expanded
view
Midpoints will
be (x
j
,y
j
)
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 4
With this type of panel, we have m+1 unknowns =
1 , , 1 ... 3 , 2 , 1 + − m m m
γ γ γ γ γ γ , so we
need m+1 equations.
Step#3: Enforce Flow Tangency at Panel Midpoints
The next step is to enforce some approximation of the boundary conditions at the
airfoil surface. To do this, we will enforce flow tangency at the midpoint of each
panel.
Panel method lingo: control point is a location where o n u = •
is enforced.
To do this, we need to find the potential and the velocity at each control point.
The potential has the following form:
#
panels
freestream individual panel
potential potential
φ
   
= +
 
\ . \ .
∑
Suppose freestream has angle α :
( ) ( )
( )
1
1
0
ˆ
, cos sin tan
ˆ 2
j
S
m
j j
j j
s y y
x y V x y ds
x x
γ
φ α α
π
−
∞
=
  −
= + −


−
\ .
∑
∫
The required boundary condition is
( )
,
0 1
i i
i
x y for all i m
n
φ ∂
= = →
∂
So, let’s carry this out a little further:
( ) ( )
1
,
0
,
component of freestream normal
to surface of panel i
normal velocity due to panel j
at control poi
ˆ ( )
cos sin tan
ˆ 2
j
i i
S
j j
i i i
j i j
x y
s y y
x y V i j n ds
n n x x
γ
φ
α α
π
−
∞
¦ ¹
(
  −
∂ ∂ ¦ ¦
= + • −
(  ´ `

∂ ∂ −
(
¦ ¦ \ . ¸ ¸
¹ )
∫
0
nt of panel i
0
m
j=
=
∑
And recall ( ) ( )
j
j
j j j j
S
s
s γ γ γ γ − + =
+1
.
We can rewrite these integrals in a compact notation:
( )
1
1
1 2 1
0
,
Influence of panel j due to
node j on control point of panel i
ˆ
tan
ˆ 2
j
ij ij
i i
n
ij
S
j j
n j n j
i j
x y
C
s y y
ds C C
n x x
γ
γ γ
π
−
+
=
¦ ¹
(
  −
∂ ¦ ¦
= +
(  ´ `

∂ −
(
¦ ¦ \ .
¸ ¸
¹ )
∫
i.e.
1
ij
n j
C γ =normal velocity from panel j due to node j on control point of panel i .
i i
y x ,
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 5
2
ij
n
C =
Influence of panel j due to node 1 j + on control point at panel i
⇒Total normal velocity at control point of panel i due to panel j
1 2 1
ij ij
n j n j
C C γ γ
+
= +
So, let’s look at the control point normal velocity
So, for panel i , flow tangency looks like:
( ) ( )
1 2 1
1
cos sin , for all 1
ij ij
i
m
n j n j i
j
V n
C C V i j n i m γ γ α α
∞
+ ∞
=
+ = + = →
∑
i
We can write this as a set of m equations for m+1 unknowns.
Question: What can we do for one more equation?
Step#4: Apply Kutta condition
We need to relate Kutta condition to the unknown vortex strengths
j
γ . To do this,
consider a portion of a vortex panel.
γ
ds
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 6
Put a contour about differential element ds
Recall:  
( ) ( )
2 2 1 1
1 2 1 2
u ds
ds V dn U ds V dn U ds
V V dn U U ds
γ
Γ = − ⋅
⇒ = − − − +
= − − −
∫
Now let & 0 dn ds → :
( )
1 2
2 1
,
, or
, in general
top bottom
dn O ds U U ds
U U
U U
γ
γ
γ
→ = − −
= −
= −
So, since the Kutta condition requires
top bottom
U U = at TE:
. .
0, Kutta condition
t e
γ =
For the vortex panel method, this means:
1 1
0
m
γ γ
+
+ =
Step#5: Setup System of Equations & Solve
γds V
2
V
1
U
2
U
1
ds
dn
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 7
1
2
8
11 12 19 1
21 22 2
31 32 33 3
41
51
61
71
8 81
9
0@ 1
0@ 2
.
. .
. .
.
0@
1 0 0 0 1 0
n
n
n
I
V
I I I
u n i
V
I I u n i
I I I
I
I
I
I
V u n i m I
Kutta
γ
γ
γ
γ
γ
γ
∞
∞
∞
( = = (
( (
= =
( (
( (
( (
( (
( (
= −
( (
( (
( (
( (
= =
( (
( (
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
¸
i
i
i
n
V
∞
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
(
¸
Where =
ij
I total influence of node j at control point i
For example:
36 37
2 1 37 n n
C C I + =
The problem thus reduces to = Ax b , or, using our notation
n
∞
Iγ = V ,
which we solve to find the vector of γ ’s!
1
2
3 4
6
5
8
7
9 C
n1
37
C
n2
36
Nodes
Control points
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 8
Step #6: Postprocessing
The final step is to postprocess the results to find the pressures and the lift
acting on the airfoil.
airfoil
L V V ds ρ ρ γ
∞ ∞
′ = Γ =
∫
So, for our method, this reduces to:
( )
1
1
1
2
1
1
2
1
2
m
i i i
i
m
i i i
l
i
L V S
L S
C
V V c
V c
ρ γ γ
γ γ
ρ
∞ +
=
+
= ∞ ∞
∞
′ = +
  ′
⇒ = = +

\ .
∑
∑
Vortex Panel Method Summary
In practice, the vortex panel method used for airfoil flows is a little different than
the strategy used in the windy city problem. Here’s a summary:
Step #1: Replace airfoil surface with panels
Note: the trailing edge is doublenumbered 1 points, panels m m ⇒ + .
Step #2: Distribute vortex singularities with linear strength variables on each
panel
( )
1
( )
j
j j j j
j
s
s
S
γ γ γ γ
+
= + −
1 2
3 4
m
m+1
γ
ds
S
j
j
j+1
γ(j)
γ(j+1)
γ(s
j
)
s
j
γds
Quick Visit to Bernoulli Land
16.100 2002 9
This means we have m+1 unknowns:
1 ,
.. ..........
, 3 , 2 , 1 + m m
γ γ γ γ γ
Step #3: Enforce flow tangency at panel midpoints
0 u n • =
at midpoint of every panel
equations m ⇒
Step#4: Apply Kutta condition
Kutta condition becomes:
. . 1 1
0 0
1 equations & 1 unknowns
t e m
m m
γ γ γ
+
= ⇒ + =
⇒ + +
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