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Chapter 2 Airfoil and Geometry Selection

Before the design layout can be started, values for a number of parameters must be chosen. Airfoil(s) Types Wing Geometries Tail Geometries Thrust to Weight Ratio (T/W) Estimated Takeoff Weight (W0) Fuel Weight (Wf) Estimated Wing, Tail and Engine Size

Airfoil Selection
A/F selection depends on the following: Cruise speed Takeoff and landing distance Stall speed Handling qualities (Near stall) Over all aerodynamic efficiency during all the flight phases

Airfoil Geometry

Camber: Refers to the characteristic of most airfoils. curvature

Mean camber line: The line equidistant from the upper and lower surfaces. Total airfoil Camber: The maximum distance of the mean camber line from the chord line, expressed as a percent of the chord.

Airfoil Thickness
The thickness distribution of the airfoil: It is the distance from the upper surface to the lower surface, measured perpendicular to the mean camber line and is a function of the distance from the leading edge (t/c)

Airfoil Lift and Drag

Airfoil Lift, drag and pitching moment

Airfoil with camber will produce lift even at zero angle of attack. Lift Coefficient (Cl) = Section lift / qc Drag Coefficient (Cd)= Section drag /qc Pitching Moment Coefficient (Cm) Cm= Section Moment /qc2 Where c= chord, q=dynamic pressure = angle of attack , Cl= Slop of the lift curve =2 (Typical)

Aerodynamic Center and Center of Pressure

Aerodynamic Center It is the point which the pitching moment remains constant for any angle of attack. Center of pressure It is usually behind the aerodynamic center, the location varies with angle of attack

Effect of camber on separation

Pitching moment is almost independent of angle of attack, it is located at about 0.25 c for most airfoil at subsonic speed.

Airfoil Families

Early Early: Airfoils were developed are mostly by trail and error. 1930: NACA developed four digit airfoils NACA 5 digit airfoils: They were developed to allow shifting the position of maximum camber forward for greater lift.

NACA 6 digit airfoils: They were designed for increased laminar flow and hence reduced drag

Good laminar flow airfoil

Smooth fabrication

Transonic Effect
Upper surface shock creates a large increase in drag along with reduction in lift and change in the pitching moment

Some airfoil exhibit a gradual reduction in the lift during a stall

Stall: Fat Airfoil

Fat airfoil: t/c>14% Stall starts in the leading edge =10 deg. B-L begins to separate at the trailing edge and moving forward as the angle of attack is further increased Loss of lift is gradual

Pitching moment changes only a small amount

Stall: Thin Airfoil

t/c < 6-14% Stall starts from the leading edge At small , flow separates near the nose but immediately reattaches itself. At High flow fail to reattached itself Twisting of the wing is recommended to reduce angle of attack at the tip but may cause the wing root to stall first.

Designer may select to use different airfoils at the root and the tip, airfoil with high stall angle may be selected for the tip. This provide good flow over the ailerons for roll control. If different airfoil are used at the root and tip, designer must develop the intermediate airfoil by interpolation. For high aspect ratio unswept Wing: Stall is directly related to airfoil stall only. For Lower aspect ratio or highly swept wing: The 3-D effects dominate stall characteristics.

Airfoil Thickness Ratio

Airfoil thickness has a direct effect on drag, maximum lift, stall characteristics and structure weight

Wing Geometry

S= Reference Wing Area C= Chord A=AR= Aspect ratio t/c= A/F thickness ratio = Taper Ratio=Ctip/Croot b=span

Relations Tan L.E=tan c/4+[(1-)/A(1+)] S=W/(W/S) b=sqrt(A. S) Croot= 2S/[b(1+)], Ctip=. Croot

Y location of Aerodynamic Center and mean chord b

2 2 2 1+ + c = C root 3 1+


(1 2 )(1 + )

X location of AC =

0.25c Subsonic 0.4c Supersonic

Aspect Ratio (A)

Effect of A on CL

High vs Low aspect ratio wings: For high aspect ratio wing, the amount of wing area affected by the tip vortex is less than for low aspect ratio wing High aspect wing dose not experience as much as loss of lift due to tip vortex High aspect ratio wing has low Effective angle of attack , this will keep angle of attack at the tip low (late stall)

Aspect ratio

Wing Sweep
Wing sweep is used primarily to reduce the adverse effects of transonic and supersonic flow

The exact wing sweep required to provide the desired critical Mach number depends upon the selected airfoils, thickness ratio and taper ratio Swept aft The selection of swept aft wing in the design is due to structural divergence problem associated with forward sweep, with use of composite material, this problem can be avoided. Wing sweep and Stability Wing sweep improves aircraft stability

Taper Ratio ()
It is the ratio between the tip chord and the centerline root chord. Most wing of low sweep have a taper ratio about 0.4-0.5 Most swept wing have a taper ratio of about 0.2-0.3. Taper affect the distribution of lift along the span of the wing.

Elliptical Wing
An elliptical wing planform is difficult and expensive to build.

The easiest wing untapered (=1)





The untwisted rectangular wing has about 7% more drag due to lift than elliptical wing of the same aspect. Wing twist is used to prevent tip stall and to revise the lift distribution to approximate an ellipse. Typical, wings are twisted between zero and 5 degrees.

Wing Incidence
Wing incidence angle is the pitch angle of the wing respect to fuselage. If the wing is untwisted, the incidence angle is simply the angle between the fuselage axis and the wing airfoil chord line. Wing incidence angle is chosen to minimize drag at some operating conditions, usually cruise.

It is the angle the wing with respect to the horizontal plan

Dihedral tends to roll the A/C level when ever it is banked. [The resulting rolling moment is approximately proportional to the dihedral angle)

Wing Vertical Location

High Wing

It allows placing the fuselage closer to the ground, this allows loading and unloading the cargo without special ground handling gear. A/C with high wing will have sufficient ground clearance without excessive landing gear length ( Leading gear weight also reduced for a high wing) Structural benefit: Wing box is carried over the top of the fuselage rather than pass through it.

The fuselage weight is usually increased because it strengthened to support the landing gear loads. For small A/C, the high wing arrangement can block the pilots visibility in a turn obscuring the direction toward when A/C is turning

Mid Wing

Adv. Ground clearance For Fighter A/C: Allow bombs and missiles be carried under the wing Disadv. Structural carry through presents major problem

Low wing

Low wing
Adv. Gear cab attached directly to the wing box which being strong already. Good for landing above the water Disadv. Ground clearance difficulties

Wing Tip

For subsonic Aerodynamic Tip shapes affect the A/C Wetted area. Tip vortices also will affected Types of Tips: Rounded Tip: Easily permits the air to flow around the tip Sharp Edge: Reducing the induced drag Cut-off tip: Reducing the drag Hoerner wing Tip: Low drag

Drooped and Unswept Tip: Increase the effective span without increasing the actual span (Affect the drag). Sweep wing tip: Affect the drag Aft swept: Increase the wing torsional Load Cut-off Forward swept tip: It used for supersonic A/C (shock), reduce the torsional loads applied on the wing

End-Plate and wing let It is used to reduce the induced drag [ used to prevent the escaping of higher pressure air at the bottom of the wing around the tip to the top].

Tail Geometry and arrangement

Tails provide A/C with trim, stability and Control. The must be sized to provide adequate control power at all critical conditions.

Tail arrangement

Conventional Tail Usually provide adequate stability and control at the lightest weight A/C. T-tail Due to end plate effect, the T-tail allows a smaller vertical tail. It is more efficient and hence allows reduction in its size. This is reduces the buffet on the horizontal tail, which leads to reduction in fatigue problems for both structure and pilot.

Cruciform Tail A compromise between the conventional tail and T-tail arrangement It will not provide a tail area reduction Lifts the horizontal tail to avoid proximity to jet exhaust. H-tail: It is used to positing the vertical tail away from disturbed air at high angle of attack.

V-tail It is intended to reduce wetted area Twin Tail It is used to reduce the height required with single tail. Other types of tail see the figure