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Applied Aerodynamics

Applied Aerodynamics

Problem definition:
Reynolds Number: 106 ; Thickness=35%
To choose a thick airfoil, search for maximum Cl, lowest Cd and observe the sensitivity to roughness.
Thick airfoils are chosen usually near the roots of tapered wings, propeller hubs, wind turbine hubs and
places in the airplane where the structural advantages of using a thick airfoil play a role. For instance, the design
of airfoils in rotor blades is a trade-off between airfoil performance including rotational effects and structural
requirements. Apart from providing more structural stiffness, the thick airfoils enable the blade designer to
reduce weight, giving a reduction of fatigue loads and costs. However, experimental tests [1] have shown that
after a thickness of 20%, they become so poor aerodynamically that other consideration do not justify their
usage. It is therefore interesting to study the aerodynamic characteristics of these kinds of airfoils.
Some characteristic behaviors include low Cl/Cd ratio, anomalous behavior
such as sudden loss of Cl around Clmax values at low Reynolds number flow,
anomalous behavior near stall angle for higher Reynolds number flow.
Another difficulty with thick airfoils is that the minimum pressure is decreased
due to thickness. This results in a more severe adverse pressure gradient and
the need to start recovery sooner. If the maximum thickness point is specified,
the section with maximum thickness must recover from a given point with the
steepest possible gradient [2].
Figure 1 (above) Shows the sudden
transition in case of thick airfoils.
Figure 2 (Left) shows the Cl vs
Alpa plots from experimental data,
for various Reynolds Numbers. [1]

Since the choice of airfoil was free, we chose to analyze two 5 digit NACA foils: 21035 and 25035
(Figures 3 and 4). The analysis was done in XFLR5.

Figure 3: NACA 21035

Figure 4: NACA 25035

Some key behaviors of these airfoils can be seen in the following graphs:

Applied Aerodynamics

Figure 5: Cl vs Cd

Figure 6: Cl vs Alpha

Figure 7: Cm vs Alpha

Figure 8: Cl/Cd vs Alpha

Applied Aerodynamics

Figure 9 : Cp Distribution
Discussions :
As it can be seen from the Cl vs Cd graph, the minimum value of Cd (At Cl=0) is found to be 0.0126.
From the Cl vs Alpha graph, we can see that at around 18 degrees, the Cl value stops increasing and becomes
more or less constant. It is strange because instead of dropping at stall like thin-medium airfoils, it continues to
hold the same value or gradually increase.
The Cl/Cd vs Alpha graph shows us that the maximum value of Cl/Cd is not very high which depicts the
aerodynamic inefficiency of thick airfoils.
The pressure distribution has a sudden increase in gradient as expected and explained earlier, where the
transition takes place.

Effect of Roughness
Theory and Procedure:
The processes of boundary-layer separation and stall phenomena, which occur on the wind turbines
blade in the presence of surface roughness, are not fully understood. Since thick airfoils are used mostly for
blades of rotor, it is important to study the effects of roughness of surface on the aerodynamic performance of
the 2D foil since one of the most critical problems for wind turbine rotors is degradation of the performance, and
the unpredictability of stall due to dust accumulation on blade surface area.
The analysis was done using Javafoil. The effect of roughness on transition and drag is complex and cannot
be simulated accurately. [3] Even direct numerical simulation methods have difficulties simulating it. In Javafoil,
two effects of roughness are modeled:

Laminar flow on a rough surface will be destabilized leading to premature transition

Laminar as well as turbulent flow on rough surfaces produce a higher skin friction drag.

Javafoil provides three options for surface roughness:

r0= perfectly smooth surface
r1= slightly rough surface
r2= NACA standard roughness
r3= dirty surface with spots of dirt, bugs and flies
The airfoil used was NACA 21035 which has already been analysed in the first part in XFLR5. Alpha was varied
from -3 to 40 degrees

Applied Aerodynamics


Figure10: Cl_max vs roughness

Figure11: Cd_min vs roughness

Figure 12: Clvs Alpha

Figure 13: Cd vs Alpha

Figure 14: Cl/Cd vs Alpha

Applied Aerodynamics

Figure 15: Cl vs Cd
Discussions :

For the given Reynolds number, as can be seen in figure 10, Cl max value decreased consistently with
increase in roughness. Figure 11 shows the increase in Cd at zero lift coefficient.

For lower angles of attack, the Cl is not affected much. At higher angles of attack, Cl drops with
roughness. The stall angle moves very slightly to a lesser value. This change is not easy to observe here
because the thick airfoil stalls fairly smoothly at this Reynolds number so the curve is very gradual.
Surface roughness moves the transition point toward the leading edge and causes early trailing edge
turbulent separation, which results in reducing the effectiveness of the airfoil.

The flow apparently separated sooner for higher roughness.

Cl/Cd is reduced by a greater factor in each step when roughness is low, this factor decreases with
increase in roughness. In other words, performance of an airfoil is more sensitive to smaller roughness.

Cl/Cd decreases because Induced drag increases as the angle of attack increases. Therefore, since a
contaminated wing must fly at a higher angle of attack at a given airspeed to produce the required lift,
the induced drag generated at that airspeed will be higher than the induced drag of an uncontaminated