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Chapter 1

Aerodynamics: Some Introductory Thoughts

Aerodynamic Forces and Moments

Aerodynamic forces and moments on a body are only due to two

basic sources:

Pressure distribution over the body surface

Shear stress distribution over the body surface

The net effect of p and distributions integrated over the complete

body surface is a resultant aerodynamic force R and moment M.

Lift, Drag, Normal and Axial Forces

L lift component of R
perpendicular to V
D drag component of R
perpendicular to V
N normal foce component of R
perpendicular to c
A axial force component of R
parellel to c
The relation between these forces
L=N cos() A sin ()
D= N sin ()+ A cos()

Normal and Axial forces in terms of Shear Stress and


Normal and Axial forces in terms of Shear Stress and

Pressure (Contd.)

The sign convention for is positive when measured

clockwise from vertical line to the direction of p and from
horizontal line to the direction of
The primes on N' and A' denote force per unit span


N ' = ( pu cos+ u sin )ds u + ( pl cos l sin ) dsl





A '= ( pu sin + u cos )dsu + ( pl sin + l cos )dsl



Aerodynamic Moments

The aerodynamic moment exerted on the body depends

on the point about which the moments are taken.
By convention moments that tend to increase (pitch up)
are positive, and moments that tend to decrease (pitch
down) are negative.

Aerodynamic Moments (Contd.)

The moment about leading edge per unit span is:



M L E ' = [( p u cos + u sin ) x( p u sin u cos ) y ]ds u + [(p l cos + l sin ) x+( p l sin + l cos ) y ]ds l


In the above equation the sign convention for applies as

before and y is a positive number above the chord and
negative number below the chord.

Dimensionless Force and Moment Coefficients

The free stream dynamic pressure is defined as:

q = V 2

Let S be a reference area l be a reference length.

The the dimensionless force and moment
coefficients are:

Lift coefficient, C L =

q S
Drag coefficient, C D =
q S
Axial force coefficient, C A =

q S
Normal force coefficient, C N =
q S

Some reference areas and


Some more dimensionless coefficients

The coefficnets defined previously are for a complete three

dimensional body. For a two dimensional body the aerodynamic
coefficients are:

cl =
q c

q c

c m=
q c 2

Two additional dimensionless quantities are:

Pressure coefficient:

Skin friction coefficient:

p p
C p=
Cf =

Center of Pressure

The distributed load on a two-dimensional produces a moment

about the leading edge as shown previously.
The forces N' and A' should be placed at such a location to
generate the same moment about the leading edge.
If A' is placed is placed on the chord line, then N' must be
located at a distance xcp downstream the LE such that,
M L E ' =( x cp ) N '
M L E '
x cp =

More on Center of Pressure

If moments were taken about the COP, the integrated effect of distributed
loads would be zero.
However, as N' decreases xcp increases and as the force approaches zero,
the COP moves to infinity.
For this reason the resultant moment is usually placed at a quarter chord
point, with finite value M'c/4
M ' L E=

N ' + M ' c / 4 =x cp N '