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# Thin Airfoil Theory

Airfoil Characteristics
l

2
1
C
=
l
/

V
Lift coeffcient: l
c
2
Moment coeficient:
Center of pressure:
Aerodynamic Center:

## Thin Airfoil Theory Setup

Symbols:

v=Vsin+v'

u=Vcos+u'

t
c
l (<0)

Chord c

Assumptions:
1. Airfoil is thin << c
2. Angles/slopes are small e.g.
sin , cos 1, slope angle
3. Airfoil only slightly disturbs
free stream u', v' << V
Kutta condition? (cusped TE)

u = c + t
Camber c = 12 (u + l )
or
l = c t
Thickness t = 12 (u l )
Non-penetration condition?

Bernoulli?

## Thin Airfoil Theory - Simplifications

Bernoulli:
C p = 1 (u 2 + v 2 ) / V2
= 1 [(V cos + u ' ) 2 + (V sin + v' ) 2 ] / V2
2u '
2v '
u '2 v '2
=
cos
sin 2 2
V
V
V V
Cp

Kutta Condition:
V (c,0 + ) = V (c,0 )

Linearized Pressure
Coefficient

Assumptions:
1. Airfoil is thin << c
2. Angles/slopes are small e.g.
sin , cos 1, slope angle
3. Airfoil only slightly disturbs free
stream u', v' << V
v=Vsin+v'
y

u=Vcos+u'
V(c,0+)
x

c
V(c,0-)

## Thin Airfoil Theory - Simplifications

Exact:

Exact:

v=Vsin+v'

u=Vcos+u'

Small disturbances
and angles:

d c d t
v ' ( x , u )
+
+
dx
dx
V
v ' ( x , u )
d d
+ c + t
V
dx
dx

Airfoil thin:

v ' ( x ,0 + )
d d
+ c + t
V
dx
dx

Likewise for
lower surface:

v ' ( x ,0 )
d d
+ c t
V
dx
dx

Or:

v ' ( x ,0 )
d d
+ c t
V
dx
dx

t
c

l (<0)

Linearized:
y

u = c + t
l = c t

C p (x,0 )

y=0+
x

y=0-

u(c,0+)=u(c,0-)
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A Source Sheet
Jump in normal velocity component

A Vortex Sheet
Jump in tangential velocity component
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## Solving for the Flow

Proposed Ideal Flow Solution:

Linearized problem:
y

iy

C p ( x,0 ) 2u ( x,0 ) / V

v ' ( x ,0 )
d d
+ c t
V
dx
dx

y=0+

y=0+
x

y=0-

u(c,0+)=u(c,0-)

Complex velocity at z 1 q ( x1 ) i ( x1 )
dx1
due to element dx1: 2
( z x1 )
Complex velocity at
y=0 due to sheet:

x1
V

dx1

y=0-

1
Complex velocity at z
W ' ( z) =
due to whole sheet:
2

Source sheet
+ vortex sheet
c

q ( x1 ) i ( x1 )
dx1
( x + iy x1 )

1 q( x1 ) i ( x1 )
W ' ( x,0 ) =
dx1 K
2 0 ( x x1 )

So what?
N.B. Karamcheti defines the vortex
sheet strength with the opposite sign

c
W ' ( x,0 )
v' ( x,0 )
1
q( x)
( x1 )
dx
= Im
=

V
2V
V
2V 0 ( x x1 )

W ' ( x , 0 )
u ' ( x ,0 )
1
= Re
=
V
V
2V

q ( x1 )
( x)
dx
m
1
0 ( x x1 )
2V
c

## Solving for the Flow

Proposed Ideal Flow Solution:

Linearized problem:
y

iy

C p ( x,0 ) 2u ( x,0 ) / V
v ' ( x ,0 )
d d
+ c t
V
dx
dx

y=0+

v ' ( x ,0 )
1
=
V
2V
u ' ( x ,0 )
1
=
V
2V

y=0+

( x1 )

( x x ) dx

q ( x1 )

( x x ) dx
0

q( x)
2V

( x)
2V

y=0-

u(c,0+)=u(c,0-)

x1
V

y=0-

x
dx1

Source sheet
+ vortex sheet

(c )
(c )
u ' ( c ,0 + ) u ' ( c ,0 )
1
q ( x1 )
1
q ( x1 )
Kutta
=
so
dx

=
dx
+
so (c ) = 0
1
1
V
2V 0 (c x1 )
2V 2V 0 (c x1 )
2V
condition: V
c

d d
i ( x1 )
1
q( x)
Nondx
+ c t =

1
dx
dx 2V 0 ( x x1 )
2V
penetration:
c

Pressure:

1
C p ( x ,0 ) =
V

Pressure Difference:

q ( x1 )
( x)
dx

0 ( x x1 ) 1 V
c

Solution
order?
Need q(x)?

Non-penetration

d d
i ( x1 )
1
q( x)
dx
+ c + t =
+
1
dx
dx 2V 0 ( x x1 )
2V
c

d c d t
i ( x1 )
1
q( x)
dx

1
dx
dx 2V 0 ( x x1 )
2V
c

d
i ( x1 )
1
dx1
+ c ( x) =
dx
2V 0 ( x x1 )
c

+Kutta

(c ) = 0

## How to solve for (x) w/o specifying

d c
(x) ?
dx

Write as

x / c = 12 (1 + cos )
x1 / c = 12 (1 + cos 1 )

Relate to

for

d c
dx

## General Algebraic Solution

Fourier Series Solution gives:

1 cos
( ) / V = (2 Bo )
+ 2 Bn sin(n )
sin
n =1

where:

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

mO
0

x / c = 12 (1 + cos )

C p
x

c
0

Cl =

l
=
2
1
2 V c

## Substitute for () and evaluate: Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

1
x
m
x
= 1 O2 2 = 1
x

pdx
=

C
(
x
)
d
= 14 C p ( )(1 + cos ) sin d
p
2 2

c
c
2 V c
2 V c 0
0

C mO

## Substitute for () and evaluate: C mO = 12 + 14 ( B0 + 2 B1 + B2 )

= 14 Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

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## Transferring the moment - Conclusions

Now:

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )
C mO = Cl + ( B1 + B2 )
1
4

mO

1
4

## 2(2 B0 )(1 cos )

C p ( ) =
4 Bn sin( n )
sin
n =1

So,
Lift varies linearly with
Lift curve slope is 2
Camber only acts to influence the zero lift angle of attack
Thickness has no effect on lift and moment

Lift acts

Aerodynamic center is

C mx =

Center of pressure is

x / c = 12 (1 + cos )

mx
c

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

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## Example 1 Symmetric Foil

An airfoil has a straight camber line
defined as: c / c = 0
Determine the aerodynamic characteristics
and vortex sheet strength.

t
c

u
l

c
0

x / c = (1 + cos )
1
2

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

C mx = ( cx 14 )Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

1 cos
( ) / V = (2 Bo )
+ 2 Bn sin(n )
sin
n =1

cos = 2( x / c) 1
sin( ) = 1 cos 2 = 2 x / c ( x / c) 2

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## Example 2 Parabolic Foil

An airfoil has upper and lower surfaces
defined as: u / c = 0.5( x / c )(1 x / c )

l / c = 0.3( x / c )(1 x / c )

t
c

u
l

## Determine the aerodynamic characteristics

x / c = (1 + cos )
1
2

c
0

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

C mx = ( cx 14 )Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

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## Example 3 NACA 2412

A NACA 2412 airfoil has a camber line
given by the equations:

c =
c =

1
10
1
90

x / c ( x / c)
+ 452 x / c 362 ( x / c ) 2
2
16

4
10

4
10

4
x c 1
10

x / c = (1 + cos )
1
2

c
0

0 x/c
4
10 x / c 1

0 x c

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

## Determine the aerodynamic characteristics

1 1 x

d c 10 4 c
=
dx 2 1 x

45 9 c

t
c

C mx = ( cx 14 )Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

1 1
(1 + cos )
d c 10 8
=
dx 2 1
(1 + cos )
45 18

p
p 0

0.4 = 12 (1 + cos p )

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2 1
2 1 1
B0 = (1+ cos ) d + (1+ cos ) d = 0.009
0 45 18
p 10 2
2

Use Matlab!

2 2 1
2 1 1

0 45 18
p 10 2

2 2 1
2 1 1

## B2 = (1+ cos ) cos2d + (1+ cos ) cos2d = 0.0138

0 45 18
p 10 2

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )
= 2 + 0.2279 ol = 2.08

Cmc / 4 = ( B1 + B2 )
= 0.0532

x / c = (1 + cos )
1
2

c
0

V
1
4

t
c

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

C mx = ( cx 14 )Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

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Comparison
with data

Summary of
airfoil data
Abbott, Ira H Von
Doenhoff, Albert E
Stivers, Louis, Jr

Cl

Cmc/4

http://naca.larc.nasa.gov/re
ports/1945/naca-report-824/

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## Example 4 Helicopter Rotor

on a helicopter rotor airfoil section as a
function of angle of attack. Estimate the
change in angle of attack.

t
c

u
l

x / c = (1 + cos )
1
2

c
0

2 d
Bn = c ( ) cos(n )d
0 dx

Cl = 2 ( B0 + B1 )

C mx = ( cx 14 )Cl + 14 ( B1 + B2 )

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