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gyhujkolkpkjkAn airfoil-shaped body moved through a fluid produces an aerodynami

c force. The component of this force perpendicular to the direction of motion is

called lift. The component parallel to the direction of motion is called drag.
Subsonic flight airfoils have a characteristic shape with a rounded leading edge
, followed by a sharp trailing edge, often with a symmetric curvature of upper a
nd lower surfaces. Foils of similar function designed with water as the working
fluid are called hydrofoils.
The lift on an airfoil is primarily the result of its angle of attack and shape.
When oriented at a suitable angle, the airfoil deflects the oncoming air (for f
ixed-wing aircraft, a downward force), resulting in a force on the airfoil in th
e direction opposite to the deflection. This force is known as aerodynamic force
and can be resolved into two components: lift and drag. Most foil shapes requir
e a positive angle of attack to generate lift, but cambered airfoils can generat
e lift at zero angle of attack. This "turning" of the air in the vicinity of the
airfoil creates curved streamlines, resulting in lower pressure on one side and
higher pressure on the other. This pressure difference is accompanied by a velo
city difference, via Bernoulli's principle, so the resulting flowfield about the
airfoil has a higher average velocity on the upper surface than on the lower su
rface. The lift force can be related directly to the average top/bottom velocity
difference without computing the pressure by using the concept of circulation a
nd the Kutta-Joukowski theorem.[1][2][3][4]
Contents [hide]
1 Introduction
2 Airfoil terminology
3 Thin airfoil theory
4 Derivation of thin airfoil theory
5 See also
6 Notes
7 References
8 External links
Streamlines around a NACA 0012 airfoil at moderate angle of attack
Lift and Drag curves for a typical airfoil
A fixed-wing aircraft's wings, horizontal, and vertical stabilizers are built wi
th airfoil-shaped cross sections, as are helicopter rotor blades. Airfoils are a
lso found in propellers, fans, compressors and turbines. Sails are also airfoils
, and the underwater surfaces of sailboats, such as the centerboard and keel, ar
e similar in cross-section and operate on the same principles as airfoils. Swimm
ing and flying creatures and even many plants and sessile organisms employ airfo
ils/hydrofoils: common examples being bird wings, the bodies of fish, and the sh
ape of sand dollars. An airfoil-shaped wing can create downforce on an automobil
e or other motor vehicle, improving traction.
Any object with an angle of attack in a moving fluid, such as a flat plate, a bu
ilding, or the deck of a bridge, will generate an aerodynamic force (called lift
) perpendicular to the flow. Airfoils are more efficient lifting shapes, able to
generate more lift (up to a point), and to generate lift with less drag.
A lift and drag curve obtained in wind tunnel testing is shown on the right. The
curve represents an airfoil with a positive camber so some lift is produced at
zero angle of attack. With increased angle of attack, lift increases in a roughl
y linear relation, called the slope of the lift curve. At about 18 degrees this
airfoil stalls, and lift falls off quickly beyond that. The drop in lift can be
explained by the action of the upper-surface boundary layer, which separates and
greatly thickens over the upper surface at and past the stall angle. The thicke
ned boundary layer's displacement thickness changes the airfoil's effective shap
e, in particular it reduces its effective camber, which modifies the overall flo
w field so as to reduce the circulation and the lift. The thicker boundary layer
also causes a large increase in pressure drag, so that the overall drag increas
es sharply near and past the stall point.

Airfoil design is a major facet of aerodynamics. Various airfoils serve differen

t flight regimes. Asymmetric airfoils can generate lift at zero angle of attack,
while a symmetric airfoil may better suit frequent inverted flight as in an aer
obatic airplane. In the region of the ailerons and near a wingtip a symmetric ai
rfoil can be used to increase the range of angles of attack to avoid spin stall. T
hus a large range of angles can be used without boundary layer separation. Subso
nic airfoils have a round leading edge, which is naturally insensitive to the an
gle of attack. The cross section is not strictly circular, however: the radius o
f curvature is increased before the wing achieves maximum thickness to minimize
the chance of boundary layer separation. This elongates the wing and moves the p
oint of maximum thickness back from the leading edge.
Supersonic airfoils are much more angular in shape and can have a very sharp lea
ding edge, which is very sensitive to angle of attack. A supercritical airfoil h
as its maximum thickness close to the leading edge to have a lot of length to sl
owly shock the supersonic flow back to subsonic speeds. Generally such transonic
airfoils and also the supersonic airfoils have a low camber to reduce drag dive
rgence. Modern aircraft wings may have different airfoil sections along the wing
span, each one optimized for the conditions in each section of the wing.
Movable high-lift devices, flaps and sometimes slats, are fitted to airfoils on
almost every aircraft. A trailing edge flap acts similarly to an aileron; howeve
r, it, as opposed to an aileron, can be retracted partially into the wing if not
A laminar flow wing has a maximum thickness in the middle camber line. Analyzing
the Navier Stokes equations in the linear regime shows that a negative pressure g
radient along the flow has the same effect as reducing the speed. So with the ma
ximum camber in the middle, maintaining a laminar flow over a larger percentage
of the wing at a higher cruising speed is possible. However, with rain or insect
s on the wing, or for jetliner speeds, this does not work. Since such a wing sta
lls more easily, this airfoil is not used on wingtips (spin-stall again).
Schemes have been devised to define airfoils
an example is the NACA system. Vari
ous airfoil generation systems are also used. An example of a general purpose ai
rfoil that finds wide application, and predates the NACA system, is the Clark-Y.
Today, airfoils can be designed for specific functions using inverse design pro
grams such as PROFOIL, XFOIL and AeroFoil. XFOIL is an online program created by
Mark Drela that will design and analyze subsonic isolated airfoils.[5]
Airfoil terminology[edit]
Airfoil nomenclature
The various terms related to airfoils are defined below:[6]
The suction surface (a.k.a. upper surface) is generally associated with higher v
elocity and lower static pressure.
The pressure surface (a.k.a. lower surface) has a comparatively higher static pr
essure than the suction surface. The pressure gradient between these two surface
s contributes to the lift force generated for a given airfoil.
The geometry of the airfoil is described with a variety of terms :
The leading edge is the point at the front of the airfoil that has maximum curva
ture (minimum radius).[7]
The trailing edge is defined similarly as the point of maximum curvature at the
rear of the airfoil.
The chord line is the straight line connecting leading and trailing edges. The c
hord length, or simply chord, c, is the length of the chord line. That is the re
ference dimension of the airfoil section.
Different definitions of airfoil thickness
An airfoil designed for winglets (PSU 90-125WL)
The shape of the airfoil is defined using the following geometrical parameters:
The mean camber line or mean line is the locus of points midway between the uppe
r and lower surfaces. Its shape depends on the thickness distribution along the

The thickness of an airfoil varies along the chord. It may be measured in either
of two ways:
Thickness measured perpendicular to the camber line.[8][9] This is sometimes des
cribed as the "American convention";[8]
Thickness measured perpendicular to the chord line.[10] This is sometimes descri
bed as the "British convention".
Some important parameters to describe an airfoil's shape are its camber and its
thickness. For example, an airfoil of the NACA 4-digit series such as the NACA 2
415 (to be read as 2 - 4 - 15) describes an airfoil with a camber of 0.02 chord
located at 0.40 chord, with 0.15 chord of maximum thickness.
Finally, important concepts used to describe the airfoil's behavior when moving
through a fluid are:
The aerodynamic center, which is the chord-wise length about which the pitching
moment is independent of the lift coefficient and the angle of attack.
The center of pressure, which is the chord-wise location about which the pitchin
g moment is zero.
Thin airfoil theory[edit]
An airfoil section is displayed at the tip of this Denney Kitfox aircraft, built
in 1991.
Airfoil of Kamov Ka-26 helicopters
Thin airfoil theory is a simple theory of airfoils that relates angle of attack
to lift for incompressible, inviscid flows. It was devised by German-American ma
thematician Max Munk and further refined by British aerodynamicist Hermann Glaue
rt and others[11] in the 1920s. The theory idealizes the flow around an airfoil
as two-dimensional flow around a thin airfoil. It can be imagined as addressing
an airfoil of zero thickness and infinite wingspan.
Thin airfoil theory was particularly notable in its day because it provided a so
und theoretical basis for the following important properties of airfoils in twodimensional flow:[12][13]
(1) on a symmetric airfoil, the center of pressure and aerodynamic center lies e
xactly one quarter of the chord behind the leading edge
(2) on a cambered airfoil, the aerodynamic center lies exactly one quarter of th
e chord behind the leading edge
(3) the slope of the lift coefficient versus angle of attack line is 2 \pi\! uni
ts per radian
As a consequence of (3), the section lift coefficient of a symmetric airfoil of
infinite wingspan is:
\ c_L = 2\pi \alpha
where c_L\! is the section lift coefficient,
\alpha\! is the angle of attack in radians, measured relative to the chord line.
(The above expression is also applicable to a cambered airfoil where \alpha\! is
the angle of attack measured relative to the zero-lift line instead of the chor
d line.)
Also as a consequence of (3), the section lift coefficient of a cambered airfoil
of infinite wingspan is:
\ c_L = c_{L_0} + 2\pi\alpha
where \ c_{L_0} is the section lift coefficient when the angle of attack is zer
Thin airfoil theory does not account for the stall of the airfoil, which usually
occurs at an angle of attack between 10 and 15 for typical airfoils.[14]
Derivation of thin airfoil theory[edit]
From top to bottom:John the Baptist
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 "
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is he who was spoken o
f by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness
: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." 4 Now John wore a garme

nt of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locu
sts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the r
egion about the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, con
fessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he sai
d to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bear fruit that befits repentance, 9 and do not presume to say to yourselves,
`We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones t
o raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the t
rees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown
into the fire. 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming
after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will ba
ptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his ha
nd, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14
John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do yo
u come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitt
ing for us to fulfil all righteousness." Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus wa
s baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were
opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him
; 17 and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I a
m well pleased."

The Temptation of Jesus
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the d
evil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.
3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command thes
e stones to become loaves of bread."
4 But he answered, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the t
emple, 6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for i
t is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they
will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus said to h
im, "Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" 8 Again, the
devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the
world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, i
f you will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan!
for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you
serve.'" 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to h
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 a

nd leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory
of Zeb'ulun and Naph'tali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might b
e fulfilled: 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, a
cross the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - 16 the people who sat in darkness ha
ve seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death l
ight has dawned."
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of hea
ven is at hand."
The Call of the First Disciples
18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called
Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fisherme
19 And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there
he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in th
e boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Imm
ediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
23 And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the
gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the p
eople. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the
sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, an
d paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee
and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.


The Beatitudes
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his discip
les came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land.
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of
evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecute
d the prophets who were before you.
The Similes of Salt and Light
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its
saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out
and trodden under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set o
n a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, bu
t on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who
is in heaven.
Teaching of Jesus the Fulfillment of the Law
17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come
not to abolish them but to ful
Laminar flow airfoil for a RC park flyer
Laminar flow airfoil for a RC pylon racer
Laminar flow airfoil for a manned propeller aircraft
Laminar flow at a jet airliner airfoil
Stable airfoil used for flying wings
Aft loaded airfoil allowing for a large main spar and late stall
Transonic supercritical airfoil
Supersonic leading edge airfoil
Black = laminar flow,
red = turbulent flow,
grey = subsonic stream,
blue = supersonic flow volume
The airfoil is modeled as a thin lifting mean-line (camber line). The mean-line,
y(x), is considered to produce a distribution of vorticity \gamma (s) along the
line, s. By the Kutta condition, the vorticity is zero at the trailing edge. Si
nce the airfoil is thin, x (chord position) can be used instead of s, and all an
gles can be approximated as small.
From the Biot Savart law, this vorticity produces a flow field w(x) where
w(x) = \frac{1} {(2 \pi)} \int_{0}^{c} \frac {\gamma (x')}{(x-x')} dx'
where x is the location where induced velocity is produced, x' is the location o
f the vortex element producing the velocity and c is the chord length of the air
Since there is no flow normal to the curved surface of the airfoil, w(x) balance
s that from the component of main flow V, which is locally normal to the plate
he main flow is locally inclined to the plate by an angle \alpha - dy/dx. That i
V \; (\alpha - dy/dx) = w(x) = \frac{1} {(2 \pi)} \int_{0}^{c} \frac {\gamma (x'
)}{(x-x')} dx'
This integral equation can by solved for \gamma(x), after replacing x by
\ x = c(1 - \cos (\theta ))/2 ,
as a Fourier series in A_n \sin(n \theta) with a modified lead term A_0 (1 + \c
os (\theta)) / \sin(\theta)
That is
\frac{\gamma(\theta)} {(2V)} = A_0 \frac {(1 + \cos(\theta))} {\sin(\theta)} + \
sum A_n \; \sin (n \theta))

(These terms are known as the Glauert integral).

The coefficients are given by
A_0 = \alpha - \frac {1}{\pi} \int_{0}^{\pi} (dy/dx) \; d\theta
A_n = \frac {2}{\pi} \int_{0}^{\pi} \cos (n \theta) (dy/dx) \; d\theta
By the Kutta Joukowski theorem, the total lift force F is proportional to
\rho V \int_{0}^{c} \gamma (x) \; dx
and its moment M about the leading edge to
\rho V \int_{0}^{c} x \; \gamma (x) \; dx
The calculated Lift coefficient depends only on the first two terms of the Fouri
er series, as
\ C_L = 2 \pi (A_0 + A_1/2)
The moment M about the leading edge depends only on A_0, A_1 and A_2 , as
\ C_M = - 0.5 \pi (A_0+A_1-A_2/2)
The moment about the 1/4 chord point will thus be,
\ C_M(1/4c) = - \pi /4 (A_1 - A_2) .
From this it follows that the center of pressure is aft of the 'quarter-chord' p
oint 0.25 c, by
\ \Delta x /c = \pi /4 ((A_1-A_2)/C_L)
The aerodynamic center, AC, is at the quarter-chord point. The AC is where the p
itching moment M' does not vary with angle of attack, i.e.,
\frac { \partial (C_{M'}) }{ \partial (C_L)} = 0
See also[edit]
Circulation control wing
Kline Fogleman airfoil
Kssner effect
Newton's Third Law of Motion, an alternative mechanism to explaining lift
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